Leafs fans are used to watching Dion Phaneuf take bad penalties.  His 30 minors lead all defensemen.

Against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night, though, Phaneuf took a penalty that never should’ve happened.   He tripped up Coyotes forward Mike Ribiero at the blueline… but that was after David Moss had already entered the zone, causing a whistle for offside.

Rule 57 – Tripping

57.1 Tripping – A player shall not place the stick, knee, foot, arm, hand or  elbow in such a manner that causes his opponent to trip or fall.

Accidental trips which occur simultaneously with a completed play  will not be penalized.

Accidental trips occurring simultaneously with or  after a stoppage of play will not be penalized.

It looked like this one was the latter – simultaneous with or after a stoppage in play.   Referee Kerry Fraser agreed, in his column over at TSN.

It was a bang-bang play last night when Mike Ribeiro pulled the puck back and made a shift just ahead of the blue line to avoid a Dion Phaneuf check. Ribeiro’s move delayed the puck from crossing the line and caused David Moss to jump offside on the right wing. Phaneuf then stuck his stick in the feet of Ribeiro causing the Coyote to trip after the offside infraction had been committed and but a split second before the linesman’s whistle sounded. As a result, there should have been no penalty assessed to Dion Phaneuf on the play.



The wide camera shot demonstrates that both referees immediately reacted to the trip by raising their arms. The referee in the neutral zone can be seen giving a wash-out signal because once the linesman blew his whistle he realized the play was offside at the blue line. The other referee that made the call from deep inside the Leafs end zone and on the opposite side to where trip had occurred did not pull back on his first reaction to the trip and assessed the penalty. From his position, the ref inside the zone must have deemed that the trip caused the offside and the blue line and therefore should be penalized.

Read more over at TSN, including a similar call Kerry made against the Los Angeles Kings.

Referees Eric Furlatt and Mike Hasenfratz would’ve been better served to confer with the linesmen and opt to wave off the penalty.  It’s an easy conversation with the benches to let them know it would’ve been a penalty were it not for the offside.  Of course, the pressure from the crowd – taking a penalty away from a home team trailing 3-0 – would have been brutal. 

The Coyotes scored on the ensuing power play, cutting the Leafs’ lead to 3-1. Toronto was able to hold off the comeback, though, hanging on for a 4-2 victory.