Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Interference Calls Burning Tampa Bay Lightning

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Interference Calls Burning Tampa Bay Lightning

Article excerpt

Maybe there's something to the "Tampa Rule."

When the Lightning was burned by a controversial goalie interference call in Game 3 of its playoff series against the Canadiens in April, coach Jon Cooper suggested such plays should be reviewed on video. And if that came to be, Cooper thought the rule would be dubbed the "Tampa Rule."

But Cooper didn't expect to keep earning that label this season. Three Tampa Bay goals have been disallowed due to goalie interference, including one in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Capitals.

"It seems like it's following us around," Cooper quipped.

Cooper isn't griping; he knows other teams are impacted by the calls. But the Lightning is joining a growing group around the league that hopes replay is expanded to include goalie interference calls.

"The league's gathering information," Cooper said. "They're not going to jump in and overhaul something because one team it's kind of worked against them, nor should they do that.

"But ultimately I think (the video review process is) probably going to have to get involved a little bit at some point. The game is so fast now, there's so many things going on, the refs have so many things to watch for, goalie interference is one of a plethora of things they've got to watch. If we have a chance to add to the percentages of getting it right, then we have to take those steps."

The rule's rationale is simple: A goalie should have the ability to move freely within his crease without being hindered by an attacking player. But the rule is so vague that enforcement is left up to the judgment of referees, making it ripe for inconsistency.

Goalies are allowed to initiate contact inside the crease if it means establishing their position. In the Tampa Bay-Montreal game, for example, goalie Carey Price initiated contact with Lightning wing Alex Killorn, who was trying to get out of the crease, but Killorn was called for goalie interference, negating a Ryan Callahan goal. …

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