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League was right to review Marty St. Louis's shootout goal and also right to let it stand

10

March

The NHL offices in Toronto reviewed Marty St. Louie's shootout goal on Wednesday that gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 shootout win over the Blackhawks. It was right to do so. It also was right to let the goal stand, and the rhetoric coming out of Chicago seems overstated.

 Like so many things when it comes to the NHL, there are very gray areas. And this is one of them, and it is that way because the rules that govern shootouts, the same ones that govern penalty shots, do not make perfectly clear what is and is not allowed. Take Rule 24.2 of the NHL rule book which states "the puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent's goal line." Fine, but two paragraphs later it states, "The spin-o-rama type move where the player completes a 360 turn as he approaches  the goal shall be permitted as this involves a continuous motion."

The two parts of the same rule sound a bit at odds because if you do a spin move, there is no way to keep the puck constantly moving toward the goal line. As an example, consider the spin move Steven Stamkos made famous on a penalty shot against the Canadiens where he came to a screeching halt in front of the goalie and brought the puck around him from forehand to backhand. There is no way the puck is constantly moving forward, yet I don't recall anyone claiming that is an illegal move. And remember, the same rules apply to shootouts as penalty shots.

And just to take the question a step further, what happens when a player pulls a puck from the forehand to the backhand or vice versa? Doesn't the puck move even slightly backward? Should those shots be disallowed as well? If the league wants to eliminate all these questions, eliminate the spin moves.

So, bottom line, yes there should have been a review. Under the rules as written, as imperfect as they are, the goal should have counted.

[Last modified: Saturday, April 9, 2011 12:15am]

    

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