Once you hit multiple overtimes, every little bounce is huge. With both teams tightening up defensively, it often comes down to one small error, one minor mistake, or a little bit of puck luck.
At 8:47 of double overtime in Game 2 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks. Hawks forward Andrew Shaw decided to try to make a little luck of his own. Having already netted a goal from his stick, he opted to try for one via his head.
Unfortunately for Shaw, that’s against the rules. Specifially, Rule 78.5:
Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee […] for the following reasons: (i) When the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.
Referees Kevin Pollock, right behind the net, and ref Wes McCauley conferred with the linesmen to confirm the call on the ice: no goal.
Had the puck merely deflected off Shaw’s helmet and in, it would’ve counted. Rule 78.4 makes clear that “if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed.” In this case, it didn’t deflect. The head-butting motion used by Shaw actually propelled the puck into the net. It’s similar to deflections off the skate — a deflection is legal, provided there was no distinct kicking motion.
It’s well known that you can’t kick or bat the puck in with a glove. Some players, though, had no idea whether this goal would count. Chris Peters over at CBS Sports’ Eye On Hockey tracked down player responses to the play:
I'm back…. Just to say I had no idea you couldn't score with your head. And I've played 11 years. Still didn't know. Enjoy the game.
— Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) May 20, 2015
— Michael Grabner (@grabs40) May 20, 2015
Every hockey player or ex hockey player watched that goal and was like what a goal he headed it in. No clue about this ruling.
— Colby Armstrong (@armdog) May 20, 2015
Even Andrew Shaw weighed in after the game:
#Blackhawks Andrew Shaw: "Yeah I understand [the rule], but I think if anyone can ever pull that off it should still be a goal."
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) May 20, 2015
It’s not like other players haven’t tried before. Devante Smith-Pelly gave it a shot at the 2011 Memorial Cup. Pavel Datsyuk attempted one in the KHL. The thing is, you can’t score that way. Not legally, at least.