InGoal Update: More Shootout Spin-o-Rama Drama
… Plus Reimer shakes off scary stinger in glove hand; Hiller still hurting, Emery ready to play in Anaheim; Holtby shines for first NHL shutout, and more in the March 10 Update.
You kind of wondered why Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was already looking to the referees after Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos rang a shot off the post on a somewhat “routine” spin-o-rama move during the second round of a shootout between the Blackhawks and the Lightning on Wednesday night.
Surely we’ve all seen enough of the 360-degree spin moves in the tiebreaker by now to be familiar with the rules allowing them.
It appeared Crawford had a more legitimate beef, however, after Martin St. Louis score the winner in the next round by adding a twist to the spin-o-rama: The Tampa sniper appeared to stop the puck at the top of the crease after he completed his twirl, and then roofed a backhand past a sliding and helpless Crawford just under the cross bar.
After a little more protest from Crawford and a short review, the goal counted, and sent most scrambling for their copies of the NHL rulebook, which was amended to cover spin-o-ramas – and the lacrosse-type move – after the league added the shootout:
The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent’s goal line and once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete. No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind (an exception being the puck off the goal post or crossbar, then the goalkeeper and then directly into the goal), and any time the puck crosses the goal line or comes to a complete stop, the shot shall be considered complete.
The lacrosse-like move whereby the puck is picked up on the blade of the stick and “whipped” into the net shall be permitted provided the puck is not raised above the height of the shoulders at any time and when released, is not carried higher than the crossbar. See also 80.1.
The spin-o-rama type move where the player completes a 360° turn as he approaches the goal, shall be permitted as this involves continuous motion.
The continuous motion part is the issue in this case. If St. Louis stops the puck, the goal doesn’t count. So after the short review the NHL must have determined the puck was still moving, however slightly, before St. Louis lifted it into the net.
“It was pretty close,” Crawford told reporters. “He looked like he maybe stopped for a second and then kept going. They think they made the right decision. We just have to live with that.”
Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville was a little less willing to, telling ESPN Chicago he still needed an explanation:
“That’s something I need someone to tell me exactly what the rule is,” Quenneville said. “You can’t lose your forward motion or momentum. It looked like it was a complete stop.”
Reimer relieved hand works after hard slapper
The Toronto Maple Leafs slim playoff hopes have been in the hands of rookie backstop James Reimer for quite some time already, so there was a great deal of relief that one of them wasn’t broken by a hard slap shot during Tuesday’s overtime loss to the New York Islanders. The game was delayed while Reimer tried to shake off the blast by Frans Nielsen while team trainers attended.
“I was relieved. I was willing to bet myself $1,000 that my finger would be in a couple pieces,” Reimer said Wednesday after practice. “It was fine. It was numb for a couple seconds, but it slowly went away. It’s fine. Even today I can move it fine.”
Hiller still battling symptoms of vertigo, Emery read to go in Anaheim
Jonas Hiller has been back on the ice, but is no closer to returning to action as he continues to battle vertigo-like symptoms more than five weeks after first experiencing them shortly after taking two pucks off the mask at the NHL All Star Game.
But the toughest part, Hiller told the Orange County Register, is having no idea what is causing them:
“I’m still having the same issues,” Hiller told the newspaper. “Especially on the ice where I start feeling out of myself and kind of feeling all over the place. It kind of feels like I’m always falling behind the play,” Hiller said. “It’s like I can’t keep up with the puck any more. I might be physically there but I always feel like my head’s not there yet. I almost feel like I’m running behind the whole play for half a second or something. I’m always trying to catch up, which throws me off even more.”
Hiller, who saw a concussion specialist in Vancouver in early February, feels fine off the ice. He underwent more tests Monday, and joked that he has gotten to know every doctor in Los Angeles. But so far none has been able to definitively pinpoint the problem.
“Nobody can really tell me what the problem is because nobody can really say where it’s coming from,” he said. “It’s definitely not easy, especially the mental side. It’s really tough. I guess even vertigo, there’s kind of a wide possibility of what it could be.”
Hiller isn’t the only goalie in Anaheim waiting around. Reclamation project Ray Emery was recalled after a two-game stint in the AHL on Monday, but watched as Dan Ellis, acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay, started his sixth straight game in Wednesday’s one-sided win over the visiting Rangers.
Almost 11 months after career threatening surgery that involved taking a piece of bone out of his lower leg and moving it up near his hip, and more than full year since his last NHL game Feb. 1, 2010, Emery is ready to play again. But with the Ducks fighting desperately for one of the last playoff spots in the tight Western Conference, and Ellis playing well enough to keep them winning, it isn’t easy to find a place to get him into that first game.
Anaheim plays Colorado Friday, but has a couple of back-to-back situations at the end of the month, which may mean a couple more two-day stints in the AHL to stay fresh in case the Ducks need him down the stretch. When he finally does play, Emery, who is 4-1 with a .943 save percentage in his five AHL starts with Syracuse, admits there will be some nerves:
“I love getting butterflies,” Emery told The Register. “It kind of adds to your focus and makes you really present in the moment. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be excited to play and I look forward to it.”
First shutout for impressive Capitals rookie Holtby
Lost in the hype surrounding an overdue breakout by the Washington offense during Wednesday’s 5-0 win over lowly Edmonton was the first career NHL shutout for Braden Holtby, who was back in goal to start after replacing Michal Neuvirth in the last start when a piece of his mask ended up in his eye from a high, hard slap shot early in the game.
Holtby finished with 22 saves in his eighth NHL start, and none was bigger than a shorthanded breakaway stop on Andrew Cogliano while the game was still scoreless five minutes into the second period (video below). The Capitals opened the scoring – and the offensive floodgates – just 29 seconds later, providing the game’s turning point, coach Bruce Boudreau told the Washington Post:
“Braden made a great save, and that was probably the whole turning point of the game,” he said. “We come back and we score on the power play; it was like popping an air balloon.”
Holtby explained his approach to The Post:
“Obviously I know [Cogliano’s] a very speedy guy. So he usually kind of shoots quick or will make a quick move and get a shot off still. If you have a lot of speed, you usually don’t deke too much and we had good back pressure, which is all I could really ask for and luckily made the save.”
Holtby still had one more huge save to make to secure his shutout, and it was a text book example of the explosive-but-controlled lateral movement that is his biggest asset, and he stayed square and upright sliding to his right on this rebound:
One-timers from around the Goaltending World (Wide Web):
~ The changes in Antti Niemi’s style were already documented by InGoal Magazine after the seemingly unflappable Finn signed a four-year, $15.2 million contract extension last week. But USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen weighs in with another good look at Niemi’s unlikely career path and impressive second half of the season, including the fact Niemi turned down offers from Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League worth twice his current $2 million salary, and the Blackhawks never seriously tried to bring him back, at least according to his agent Bill Zito:
“They never made him any offer … there is a myth out there about a three-year deal,” Zito told USA Today. “I had one discussion with Stan (Bowman) and they weren’t trying to get it done.”
~ Former NHL goalie Chris Terreri is employed by the New Jersey Devils to coach the goaltenders, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help out in other ways too. In addition to occasionally filling in between the pipes when one of the stoppers isn’t feeling up to practice, NorthJersey.com reports that Terreri donned the pads this week to give sniper Zach Parise a target as he begins a comeback from knee surgery.