A rivalry always brings out physical play from both teams, but rarely does that include a check to a goalie. It happened on Wednesday as Braden Holtby was knocked to the ice by...wait for it...Sidney Crosby.
You can watch the play in the above video player.
Holtby went behind the net to retrieve the puck and Crosby skated after to challenge. Crosby's shoulder made contact with Holtby's head, sending the goalie to the ice. There was no call on the play.
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To add salt to the wound, the play came during a Penguins power play in which Kris Letang would go on to score to give Pittsburgh the 1-0 lead.
If you hail from Pittsburgh, chances are you saw nothing wrong with the hit. If you rock the red you probably disagree. So was it a legal play?
It is a common misconception to believe goalies are "fair game" when they come out of the crease, but goalies are not untouchable either. They essentially become a regular skater, but referees are often a bit more sensitive when it comes to hits on netminders. Obviously, that was not the case here.
With Holtby out of the crease, it is fine for Crosby to challenge him for the puck. The hit also is not late as it comes when Holtby still has the puck. The only issue is that Crosby's shoulder contacts Holtby in the head. Headshots are, of course, illegal, but judging from how Crosby is skating, it looks as if he is square with the boards and then is attempting to turn his body and shoulders. That is when he makes contact with Holtby.
The contact with the head makes it questionable, but it certainly does not appear to be malicious or even intentional.
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