1. Lightning

Peg inventor: Net dislodged properly upon Stamkos' impact

Published Nov. 13, 2013

MONTREAL — Fred Marsh has watched television replays of Steven Stamkos breaking his right leg "probably a half-dozen times," he said.

"It's a shame it happened."

But he also is certain the Marsh Pegs, which he developed and which have anchored NHL nets to the ice since 1991, reacted properly in allowing the net to dislodge when Stamkos crashed into a goalpost.

In fact, Marsh said by phone from Kamloops, British Columbia, "If it wasn't for the Marsh Peg, (Stamkos' injury) might have been worse."

Marsh, 78, might have a point. An overhead replay of the incident, which occurred Monday during the second period of Tampa Bay's 3-0 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden, shows the right goalpost had been dislodged by Stamkos' left skate before his right leg then slammed into the post.

"The pegs reacted the way they should," Marsh said. "The net released as soon as he hit the post. I didn't see any delay in the net coming off."

Marsh Pegs, made of flexible polyurethane, replaced the magnets the league had used since 1984 to hold nets in place. The magnets replaced iron posts, which were so rigid they caused several serious injuries, including in 1970 to Canadiens star Serge Savard, who slammed into a post and broke his leg in three places.

But, according to the Official Rules of Hockey, there was concern the magnets allowed nets to be dislodged too easily.

The original Marsh Pegs, which are inserted into receptacles in the ice and slipped inside the bottom of the goalposts, were 8 inches long. The league in 2003 requested the pegs be lengthened to 10 inches, Marsh said.

Still, Lightning D Eric Brewer said, nets sometimes come off the moorings too easily.

"Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to it," he said. "Sometimes it comes off all the time. I don't really have a solution to that."

It clearly is a delicate balance of wanting nets to stay put so as not to cause too many play stoppages, but using pegs flexible enough to let nets dislodge.

Marsh said the "give" of the nets should be the same, whether the posts are struck low — where the pegs are in the receptacles in the ice and where Stamkos' skate struck the post — or halfway up.

"On the top, the net may topple over backwards, but for a player sliding into the goal like that, it should release," he said.

Is there anything more that can be done?

"It's such an unfortunate thing," teammate Ryan Malone said of Stamkos' injury, "maybe the league can look at it a little bit more."

"It's constantly being looked at," league spokesman Gary Meagher said.

Marsh even said he looked at replays of Stamkos' injury three more times on Tuesday to make sure he saw the sequence of events correctly.

He is certain he did.

"The net reacted the way it should," he said.

Odds and ends: C Valtteri Filppula is 3-for-3 on shootouts. … Tampa Bay is 6-0 in overtime and shootouts. … F Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) is out of his sling and skating on his own. … LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie also was scratched.


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