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More on the NHL and ‘distinct kicking motion’

Well, there’s no chance this is going away anytime soon. Forget the conspiracy talks, the calls today have been for more consistency in the decisions the NHL makes regarding game-changing goals and plays like this one.

It doesn’t help that when the media and fans start to resource the NHL rule book on matters such as this, we come across this quote:

“A puck that deflects into the net of an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal. A puck that is directed into the net by an attacking player’s skate shall be a legitimate goal as long a no distinct kicking motion is evident.”

Everyone is focused on the “distinct kicking motion” aspect of the rule. Did Henrik Sedin put the puck in the net with a “distinct kicking motion’? Not at all, but the motion of his skate was certainly the contributing factor for redirecting the puck into the net.

The NHL is fine with shots deflecting off skates and into the net, they’re okay with a puck hitting a skate on it’s way it if player is standing in the crease. But a pass from behind the goal line that is put directly into the net with a skate that propels the puck forward? That is what the NHL says it doesn’t want.

There is precedent of this as well. The Dallas Stars had a goal called back against the Canucks this season, when Brenden Morrow’s skate pushed the puck into the net. He wasn’t even looking at it, probably had no clue it was there, but the motion of his skate propelled the puck into the net. It was ruled a no-goal by the War Room in Toronto.

So that brings us to Monday night when Daniel Sedin, as he is crashing the net, directly changes the trajectory of the puck with his skate. Talking to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, series supervisor Kris King explains why this was ruled a no goal:

“First we determine where the pass came from,” series supervisor Kris King explained Tuesday morning. “The only way it could go in with the amount of speed on the pass was that it was kicked.

“They ruled that it was not a redirect, and not a deflection. It was the movement of his foot going forward that propelled the puck over the line.”

And forget about intention. The NHL does not make a decision on these plays based on intent, as it’s likely that Sedin knew exactly what was happening as he drove the net.

The NHL is saying that a DVD was sent to teams that spells out this part of the rule, using video to show what is and is not a goal when this rule is used. It’s also important to remember that the rule book we have online is not the word-for-word rule book the NHL uses on a day to day basis.

So now there’s calls for the wording to be better defined, for the “distinct kicking motion” part of the rule to either be taken out or have the rule, as it’s actually being enforced, better worded in the rule book.

So while the conspiracy theorists will rant, the rest of us are left with an NHL that is still playing catchup with defining the rules it uses to enforce the game. Should these sorts of goals be allowed? Some say yes, while others say that opening up the game for goals to be allowed of skates is a dangerous precedent. I say, let’s just get the rule book squared away to what the NHL is actually going by, then we’ll move forward.