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Lehtonen Loses Control After Controversial OT Loss

Lehtonen Loses Control After Controversial OT Loss

Saturday night was not very kind to Kari Lehtonen and the Dallas Stars.

The Stars would lose 7-6 to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime, but it was how the game got to that point that had Lehtonen, Jamie Benn, and coach Lindy Ruff fuming.

As the score shows, it was a very open-ended affair. The Red Wings climbed back from two separate two goal deficits in the third period –  a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1932.

On the Red Wings 6th goal, the Stars believed that Lehtonen was bumped into by Justin Abdelkader on the play, and the goal should not have counted. Intentional or not, the replay makes it look quite obvious:

Lehtonen1

Lehtonen was clearly interfered with on the play, which brings the issue of video review for cases of goaltender interference to the forefront once again. The play is not currently reviewable, and the goal stood.

Coach Ruff was up in arms for a while after, but the game continued on to overtime.

In overtime, less than a minute in, Niklas Kronwall walked through the middle of the slot and beat Lehtonen with a backhand shot through his armpit on the blocker side. Lehtonen finally had enough and absolutely snapped:

Lehtonen2

Lehtonen not only nearly hit the official with his stick, he also stared him down for a long time.

Benn and Ruff did not mince any words when speaking to the media after the game.

It certainly stings to lose any game like that, but especially when it occurs right in the middle of a heated playoff battle. Lehtonen has been inconsistent throughout the year, and a loss like this could shatter his confidence even more. With an ugly incident like this, it sure looks like the pressure is getting to him.

There has been no word yet if Lehtonen will face any supplemental discipline for his actions.

What do you think? Did Lehtonen’s actions cross the line? Do you think goaltending interference calls, or non-calls should be subject to video review? Let us know in the comments!

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario as the voice of the Junior ‘A’ Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade. He is currently an instructor for Pro4 Sports, and is the goaltending consultant for the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.

4 Comments

  1. James

    Tomas Holmstrom, or Luke Glendening. I’m not saying that this shouldn’t be reviewed but goals like these happen and shouldn’t while at the same time there are goals that should of counted that didn’t for the same reason. Video review should be implemented on all scoring plays, this would of removed a goal from the Wings/Blackhawks game from the other night. I am sure there are other goals around the league that are questionable and Video review would add a safety net to a game that is only getting faster and a bit dirtier(net crashing) with garbage goals. IF they can review a goal to credit the correct player I don’t see why they can’t review it to say its a good or bad goal at the same time.

    Reply
  2. DSM

    Abdelkader shoved Lehts into the goal on that replay. To allow that is tantamount to favoritism towards Detroit. Can’t think of any other explanation in this day of replays from on high.

    Reply
  3. Joe Feeney

    THis is a clear and unmitigated case of interference! It should have been called a penalty no matter what player, and especially when it was the goaltender who was just blasted with two fists to the upper body/ head area. It again shows that it is well past time for the “In the Crease” rule to be put back in. If the NHL wants true HOCKEY, sot prying to make it impossible for certain players(read Goalies) to play their position.

    If the NHL won’t make skaters stay out of the crease, it is time for goalies to take that responsibility, which may even mean acting like BILLY SMITH or Ron Hextall at their worst!

    Reply
  4. Jim

    What needs to be done is have more uniform goaltender interference guidelines. With some crews the goalie can get run over and there is no call. Yet other crews will make a call if someone sneezes on him. Get a strict set of guidelines so everyone knows what is and what isn’t going to be called. In this case it seemed pretty clear that Kari took at least one shot to the upper body before the puck entered the goal. Bear in mind, the Wings have scored some pretty “iffy” goals in recent history.

    Reply

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