Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby committed his first infraction of the 2021-22 season, and it was a big one. While he avoided having the two minutes show on his stat line, his stickwork did result in a critical goal for the New Jersey Devils.
Crosby was called for tripping after he slashed the stick of Devils forward Jesper Bratt and shoved him into goaltender Tristan Jarry. It was a clear penalty.
Referee Corey Syvret signaled for a penalty shot.
The league spells out clear criteria for what is – and isn’t – a penalty shot. From Rule 57.3:
In order for a penalty shot to be awarded for a player being fouled from behind, the following four (4) criteria must have been met:
(i) The infraction must have taken place in the neutral or attacking zone (i.e. over the puck carrier’s own blue line).
(ii) The infraction must have been committed from behind.
(iii) The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, the player clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have been denied a reasonable chance to score. The fact that the player got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from the penalty shot consideration criteria. If the foul was from behind and the player was denied a “more” reasonable scoring opportunity due to the foul, then the penalty shot should still be awarded.
(iv) The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, the player clearly would have obtained possession and control) must have had no opposing player between himself and the goalkeeper.
This situation does appear to check all the boxes, though it happened much closer to the net than most penalty shot infractions.
“It was a push!” Crosby protested on his way to the bench.
Bratt converted, scoring to put the Devils up 3-2 with 3:00 remaining. They went on to win 4-2.
“It’s too late to do anything about it now,” Crosby said after the game. “I think [it’s] maybe a penalty? Maybe? I didn’t agree with the call.”
Referees for the game were Corey Syvret (#23) and Brad Meier (#34); linesmen were Devin Berg (#87) and C.J. Murray (#68).