On Goalie Interference

I ranted on Twitter a bit during the Red Wings’ eventually-unsuccessful challenge of the Penguins’ first goal of the game.

It may seem a little disingenuous to compare modern goalie interference calls to those levied against a player who retired three years ago. Rules have changed since then. Video review of Holmstrom’s goalie interference calls was never an option.

The reason I do it, though, is because – while we now have video review – the actual definition of goalie interference has not changed. Which means that, in theory, plays now should be held to the same standard that Holmstrom was during his career.

We saw Detroit goals disallowed because Holmstrom was hovering over the crease, not making contact with the goaltender. Plays where the refs went to center ice and announced that a goal was coming back because a player was in the crease. We saw that multiple times a season and no one in the league offices or the media even blinked, despite that not being the rule.

Tonight we saw a skater planted in the crease, seemingly pushing the goalie around in it, and we debate whether that contact really made a difference. No one suggests that his mere presence in the blue paint should negate the goal. Even with video review to get the call right, the call that was made against Holmstrom never gets made now.

So I rant because it’s an implicit admission that all those calls throughout his career were wrong. If the standards are the same, and video review allows us to get it right, and someone standing in the crease and pushing the goalie around is a legal play, then Tomas Holmstrom‘s entire reputation for committing goalie interference was fabricated. I want to force people to see – and maybe acknowledge – that.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.