The Carolina Hurricanes unsuccessfully challenged a Boston Bruins goal for a missed stoppage in the offensive zone.

Bruins forward Nick Ritchie batted the puck out of mid-air with his glove. It bounced right to Canes goaltender Petr Mrazek, who covered the puck.  Boston’s Anders Bjork was able to pry the puck free and pass it across the crease to Coyle for an easy goal.

Canes head coach Rod Brind’Amour challenged the play for a missed stoppage.


Referees Chris Lee and Francis Charron reviewed the play with the NHL’s Situation Room, who ruled it a good goal.

“There was control and possession of the puck by the goaltender, nullifying the hand pass,” announced Lee.

The NHL covers hand passes in Rule 79:

79.1 Hand Pass – A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the on-ice officials,
he has directed the puck to a teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, and subsequently possession and control of the puck is obtained by a player of the offending team, either directly or deflected off any player or official.

Keep in mind that the officials and the Situation Room are only able to consider the reason for the challenge requested – in this case, a missed stoppage. They cannot evaluate the play for goaltender interference, nor can they call any penalties as part of the review process.

Brind’Amour discussed the play after the game, via The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock.

“[The referees] came to me, and I said, ‘If he has possession of it then it’s goalie interference. If he doesn’t have possession then it’s a hand pass. It’s one of the two. I don’t know what you’re calling on the ice,’” Brind’Amour said. “All he has to do is tell me. ‘We’re calling it nonpossession (by Mrazek),’ then we’re challenging a glove-hand pass. If it’s possession, then goaltender interference. I said, ‘Tell me the call on the ice.’ They wouldn’t do it when I say, ‘What is the call?’ So I had to flip a coin. …

“I said, ‘What was the call on the ice?’ and he said, ‘You’ve got to call one or the other.’ It should be so easy. If they said the goalie had it, then it’s an easy call. They wouldn’t tell you. It makes no sense. I know we weren’t the better team, but if that goal doesn’t go in, do we win that game? I don’t know.”

“There’s no way that’s a goal in any league,” Brind’Amour added. “We have a million people doing this and they can’t get it right. That’s the problem with this league.”

The coach is required to specify what the challenge is for, whether offside, goaltender interference, or a missed stoppage for a hand pass.  Only one of those can be challenged on a particular goal.

With the officials calling it a goal on the ice, they wouldn’t have felt that any of those applied – at least not based on their real-time view – so it’s unclear what Brind’Amour expected them to say, especially without the benefit of video replay — which Brind’Amour and his coaching staff had at their disposal at the time.

Mike Milbury provided an explanation from NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom on the broadcast.

“The batting of the puck by Ritchie went to Mrazek, so [the hand pass] was waved off when Mrazek hand control of it,” relayed Milbury, who disagreed with the ruling. “It was very quickly that Bjork swept it out. They were going to allow that and, therefore, good goal.”

Carolina was penalized for delay of game as a result of the failed challenge.

There were nine challenges for misses stoppages during the regular season, none by the Hurricanes.  None were successful.

No word on whether Brind’Amour’s comments will result in a fine from the league.


UPDATE: Brind’Amour has been fined $25,000 by the NHL.



A History of Fines: NHL Coaches Charged For Criticizing Officials