New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock made a defensive play to block a shot and move the puck with his glove – and avoid a penalty call in doing so.
Pulock dropped to the ice to block from Tampa defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the final few seconds of the first overtime period. The puck hit Pulock in the chest and fell to the ice, where he pushed it back between his legs.
Despite protests from Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov, there was no penalty call on the play from referees Dan O’Rourke and Chris Rooney.
Rule 67 covers handling the puck:
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 deliberately directed the puck to a teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, in any zone other than the defending zone
A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for “closing his hand on the puck”.
Anytime a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck, a minor penalty shall be assessed for “closing his hand on the puck”.
There’s no question Pulock used his glove to move the puck. In the defensive zone, that’s legal.
The penalty is typically called when a player pulls the puck under his body to get a whistle or covers it along the ice to stop play. Here’s a look at some of the plays that have resulted in a penalty for covering the puck this season.
Calgary’s Mark Giordano falls on the puck and covers it in the slot, Tampa’s Erik Cernak covers the puck before moving it, Vancouver’s Chris Tanev heads off for turtling over the puck, Alex Goligoski gets called for gloving it down and covering it to prevent an opponent from playing the puck, and Detroit’s Alex Biega sat for covering the puck along the boards.
The Cernak play might be the closest to this situation, though the Bolts blueliner hangs on to that puck a bit longer before pushing it around the boards.
Had Pulock covered the puck and kept his glove on it to stop play, there likely would’ve been a whistle from O’Rourke, positioned right behind the net.
Instead, the puck kept moving and the teams played on — at least until the horn sounded.