Annoying Crease Rule Finally a Thing of Past Goal Is to Open Up OT with 4-on-4 Play

By Sassone, Tim | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 12, 1999 | Go to article overview

Annoying Crease Rule Finally a Thing of Past Goal Is to Open Up OT with 4-on-4 Play


Sassone, Tim, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Tim Sassone Daily Herald Sports Writer

For years, it was hockey's most despised rule. Now the in-the-crease controversy is no more.

Starting with the exhibition season, the NHL has done away with video replays for crease violations on goals, giving complete and total authority back to the referees for goaltender interference.

Who says the NHL can't do anything right?

The Blackhawks' Jocelyn Thibault says thank goodness for the change, and he's one of the goalies the league thought it was trying to protect.

As it turned out, all the old zero-tolerance in-the-crease rule did was disrupt the flow of games, halt fan celebrations and hurt the overall product. The rule became a farce when goals would be disallowed simply because a player had the toe of his skate in the crease.

"For hockey, it was a good idea to take the rule out because it was getting a little crazy," Thibault said. "Guys would be celebrating a goal and they would take the party away.

"The rule didn't make sense because hockey is an emotional game and things happen fast. We've got good referees and they'll try to protect the goalies. They'll make good judgments."

NHL vice president Colin Campbell said it just made sense to give power back to the referees.

"The referee judges everything else - trips, hooks penalty shots - why not this?" Campbell said. "I think standing there or watching on TV when a goal is scored, and then waiting for the referee to either point to center ice or wait for a (video) review was not good for the game or the fans."

The league claims that Brett Hull's controversial Stanley Cup-winning goal in triple overtime for Dallas last June had nothing to do with getting rid of the rule. Hull had his skate in the crease at the time he scored, but the goal was allowed to stand amid the hysteria on the ice.

NHL referees are happy with the change to Rule 78, which now says a player can be in the crease so long as he doesn't interfere with the goaltender. …

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