Talk about adding insult to injury. Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop was injured on a Blues shot, only to have St. Louis score moments later with Bishop still down on the ice.
A shot from Blues defenseman Colton Parayko caught Bishop in the collarbone. The Dallas netminder fell to the ice in obvious pain.
No whistle came from the officials to stop play.
St. Louis maintained possession of the puck, which found its way to winger Alex Steen. He fired a quick wrister on net that was deflected in by Jaden Schwartz to put the Blues up 3-1.
Rule 8.1 covers injured players. Here’s the portion relevant to this situation:
When a player is injured so that he cannot continue play or go to his bench, the play shall not be stopped until the injured player’s team has secured control of the puck. If the player’s team is in control of the puck at the time of injury, play shall be stopped immediately unless his team is in a scoring position.
In the case where it is obvious that a player has sustained a serious injury, the Referee and/or Linesman may stop the play immediately.
When play has been stopped by the Referee or Linesman due to an injured player, or whenever an injured player is attended to on the ice by the Trainer or medical personnel, such player must be substituted for immediately. This injured player cannot return to the ice until play has resumed.
The referee, well-positioned near the net, opted not to blow the whistle based on the apparent severity of Bishop’s injury. He raises the whistle to his mouth, presumably to stop play the moment the Stars gain possession or the puck clears the zone.
Officiating Supervisor Kay Whitmore spoke about the play after the game. While the referees and linesmen rotate across series, one officiating supervisor is dedicated to each playoff matchup.
“The scoring chance is imminent and it happened bang-bang and the puck’s in the net, said Whitmore. “It wasn’t a long duration of time. The rule is pretty clear in that situation — they’re not going to kill [the play]. As soon as his team would have got possession, they would have killed it immediately. That happens all the time. But in this situation, they didn’t deem it serious enough to kill it immediately and [the Stars] didn’t get possession before the puck went in the net. It’s pretty clear on how that rule works.”
Bishop was evaluated on the ice by the medical trainer and stayed in the game.
Dallas head coach Jim Montgomery had no issue with the play, stating that the decision to blow or not blow the whistle was discretionary. His captain was similarly accepting of the call based on the referee’s determination.
“If we had a whistle we probably would have blown it,” said Dallas captain Jaime Benn, per The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro. “If they had a whistle they probably wouldn’t have. It is what it is, you can’t worry about it and you’ve got to move on.”
The teams moved on, but goaltender Ben Bishop may have still been feeling the effects of that collarbone shot. He gave up a goal to St. Louis rookie Sammy Blais on the next shot he faced.
Referee Kerry Fraser weighed in on the situation.
Honestly, this wasn’t a Bang-Bang play on shot & rebound into the net when Bishop hit on collarbone. Ref’s discretion, based on seriousness of potential injury could have killed the play when puck was loose up high until STL regained possession. With Bishop still down; whistle?
— Kerry Fraser (@kfraserthecall) May 5, 2019
Last point from an officiating mind; future potential injury! With Bishop down & back of legs; neck; head & unable to defend himself let alone his net, a slapshot strikes him in vulnerable spot resulting in debilitating injury or worse, what would we be talking about? No whistle!
— Kerry Fraser (@kfraserthecall) May 5, 2019
While Rule 8.1 covers injuries in general, there are often greater protections afforded to goaltenders. Specifically, cases where play is stopped immediately when a goalie loses his mask. That’s addressed in Rule 9.6:
When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has control of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask. When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity. This stoppage of play must be made by the Referee.
When a goalkeeper deliberately removes his helmet and/or face mask in order to secure a stoppage of play, the Referee shall stop play as outlined above and in this case assess the goalkeeper a minor penalty for delaying the game.
Notice, even in cases where a goalie has lost his mask, the officials will only stop play when there is ‘no immediate and impending scoring opportunity’. In this case – even if Bishop’s mask had come off – the officials may not have opted to stop play.
The Blues won the game 4-1, forcing a Game 7 on Tuesday in St. Louis.