The Chicago Blackhawks were shut out by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, with an early disallowed goal proving to be the difference in the game. 

Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville claims that the NHL disagreed with the no-goal decision.

In the final minutes of a scoreless first period, Chicago appeared to take the lead on a goal by Brandon Mashinter. Dennis Rasmussen’s back pass deflected off Mashinter’s shin before fluttering over goaltender Martin Jones and into the net. 

Initially, referee Tom Kowal indicated it was a goal. 

San Jose head coach Pete DeBoer challenged the play.  DeBoer is quite familiar with how this process works. Going into Tuesday’s game, DeBoer had issued more challenges – 11 – than any other coach, with one successful challenge. 

After further review, the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference.  Quenneville was not happy. 

The on-ice officials make the call on a coach’s challenge, after reviewing the play rinkside via tablet. While the NHL Situation Room provides the video replays, they don’t assist in making the ruling. 

In this case, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville says the NHL disagreed with the call.  Mark Lazarus of the Chicago Sun-Times (@MarkLazarus, if you’re not already following him) got the scoop:

Of course, that’s coming from Coach Q.  The NHL would not confirm:

CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers (@TraMyersCSNreported on Quenneville’s conversation with the league:

“I just think, we had a couple of occurrences in a short amount of time so obviously a little frustration there,” Quenneville said of his brief presser. “But we did speak to the league and got some [clarification] on the play. I just think there’s education across the board and you have a lot of people in the middle of the process making the decisions. As long as we’re getting right is what we’re looking for.”

Asked if the league agreed with the no-goal decision, Quenneville said, “Did they agree with the call? No.”

While it appeared that San Jose’s Logan Couture pushed Rasmussen into the blue paint, Rasmussen did not immediately attempt to exit.  He maintained his position in the goal crease. 

“My glove got caught in [Rasmussen’s] legs,” said goaltender Martin Jones, who added that he felt the goal should’ve been disallowed.

Contact does not necessarily need to be made for a goal to be disallowed. An opposing player’s presence in the crease is enough to be considered interference if he prevents the goaltender from doing his job.  From Rule 69.1:

Goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed … if an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.

The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

Corey Crawford felt the standard is somewhat inconsistent.

“Every ref has a different opinion of exactly what [goaltender interference] is,” said Crawford. “Some guys kind of stretch it a little bit further than others.”

His coach agreed.

“It’s gotten to a different level,” said Quenneville. “I don’t know the rules anymore, or something’s changed,I played a lot of hockey. I don’t know. I think everybody has an interpretation, what’s a good goal and what’s a bad goal.”

 

This was the second Blackhawks goal waved off due to a Coach’s Challenge in the past week.  Marian Hossa’s goal against the Phoenix Coyotes was also disallowed, prompting an outburst from Quenneville that ultimately led to a Coyotes power play.

Lazarus reported that Blackhawks had some internal discussions about the process surrounding Coach’s Challenges, with the consensus being that the review should be centralized instead of being handled by the on-ice officials. 

“The league wants to get more goals, but it seems like the rule is doing a good job of taking good goals away,” said Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa. “Last year, definitely that would be a goal, no questions asked.”

According to Joel Quenneville, the NHL agreed that it should’ve been a goal this year as well.