The Anaheim Ducks caught Carolina’s Frederik Andersen red-handed — or red-stick-taped — when they called him out for illegal tape on his goal stick.

Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen was caught when the Ducks pointed out the violation to the officials during Thursday’s game in Anaheim.

Rule 10.2 requires that goaltenders use only white tape on the knob of their sticks.

Goalkeeper’s Stick – In the case of a goalkeeper’s stick, there shall be a knob of white tape or other protective material approved by the League. This knob must not be less than one-half inch (1/2”) thick at the top of the shaft. Failure to comply with this provision of the rule will result in the goalkeeper’s stick being deemed unfit for play.

The goalkeeper’s stick must be changed without the assessment of a minor penalty.


Mike McKenna broke down the rationale for the rule at Daily Faceoff:

Before video replay, the NHL used human beings as goal judges. They sat directly behind the net and worked in conjunction with the on-ice officials to determine whether a puck crossed the goal line.

A black knob on the end of a goaltender’s stick could easily be mistaken as a puck. And when the rule was written years ago, players had two tape colors to choose from. Black and white. By mandating goaltenders use white tape, the NHL was lessening the chance of blown calls by the goal judges.

In today’s world, endless colors of tape exist. Andersen was caught using red. And it wasn’t the first time. Back in October of 2017, when Andersen was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was caught using blue tape in a preseason game against the Winnipeg Jets and was forced to cover it with white.

Anderson’s not the only goaltender to get busted for illegal tape.

Dallas Stars netminder Anton Khudobin was caught using green tape in 2020.   Back in 2014, Edmonton’s Ben Scrivens was called out by the Kings for his orange tape.

In both cases, though, no penalty resulted. The only outcome is a brief delay while the knob gets covered with white tape.  Heck, the officials will even do it for you!

You’d think the NHL would at least hit repeat offenders with a minor penalty, but, no, that’s not an option. So, why call out an opposing goaltender for illegal tape?

McKenna weighed in on the mental motivation.

The timing was calculated. It was during a stoppage just after Hurricanes forward Martin Necas had been assessed a two-minute minor for delay of game.

The Ducks were headed to the power play. Calling out Andersen’s illegal knob bought them time. The delay allowed Anaheim’s top players to recover from a recent shift and have fresher legs for the start of the power play.

There’s also an element of psychological warfare. Forcing a goaltender to change their stick’s tape job mid-game can play into their mind – especially if they’re superstitious.

It’ll happen again. Why shouldn’t it?  If the worst case scenario is just a brief delay, who knows — maybe your team could use a breather anyway…