Should the Brassard goal have counted?

There’s a good chance that Derick Brassard’s game-tying Game 5 goal shouldn’t have counted. That’s right folks, it’s tinfoil hat time here at Blueshirt Banter.

Everyone pull out your handy-dandy 2016-17 NHL Rule Book and turn to page 76! What’s that? Don’t have one on you? That’s okay, I’ve got you covered.

The rule in question is rule 49.2.

49.2 Goals - Kicking the puck shall be permitted in all zones. A goal cannot

be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to

propel the puck into the net with his skate/foot. A goal cannot be

scored by an attacking player who kicks a puck that deflects into the

net off any player, goalkeeper or official.

A puck that deflects into the net off 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 as no distinct kicking motion is evident. The

following should clarify deflections following a kicked puck that enters

the goal:

(i) A kicked puck that deflects off the body of any player of either team

(including the goalkeeper) shall be ruled no goal.

(ii) A kicked puck that deflects off the stick of any player (excluding the

goalkeeper’s stick) shall be ruled a good goal.

(iii) A goal will be allowed when an attacking player kicks the puck and

the puck deflects off his own stick and then into the net.

(iv) A goal will be allowed when a puck enters the goal after deflecting off

an attacking player’s skate or deflects off his skate while he is in the

process of stopping.

A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who kicks any

equipment (stick, glove, helmet, etc.) at the puck, including kicking the

blade of his own stick, causing the puck to cross the goal line.

I put the most relevant part of the rule in bold print, but chose to quote the entire rule to provide context and to prevent anyone from accusing me of bias. Hopefully you’re still awake after reading your way through it.

Was it even a kick to begin with?

Before we go anywhere, we have to determine whether or not Brassard kicked the puck in with a “distinct kicking motion”. It’s time for the .gifs. A lot of .gifs.

I added a helpful little green circle in the .gif below to show the moment where Brassard makes contact with the puck with his leg.

So, what the heck happened here?

Brassard attempts to bat the puck out of the air with his stick, but he misses. In the process of going for the bat-in goal he turns his body and makes something that looks a lot like a “distinct kicking motion” ... but is it one?

Presenting only one angle can be misleading, so let’s go ahead and look at the entire play from multiple angles to get a better idea of whether or not Brassard kicked this puck in or if something else happened. The best way to do that is with video. Let’s go to the tape.

Still not convinced? There might be something that changes your mind coming up in a little bit.

Does Glass get it with his stick?

There’s no doubt that this puck goes off of Tanner Glass and into the Rangers net. But what part of Glass does it hit? Because in order for a goal that is kicked in with a “distinct kicking motion” to count, it has to hit off of someone’s stick (other than the goalie’s).

Does Glass get this puck with his stick? Let’s have a look.

It kinda looks like Glass swatted that puck down with his stick, doesn’t it? But, I’m not so sure it did.

Let’s took at it from another angle and see what role Marc Staal’s butt plays in this chaos. Yes, you read that correctly. I spent a lot of hours on Sunday trying to understand the physics of a puck hitting Staal’s bottom.

It’s pretty clear that the puck doesn’t get whacked down onto the ice off of Glass’ stick. It ricochets off of Staal’s rear end, bounces off of Glass’ shin pad and launches under Staal’s body before it deflects off of Brendan Smith’s skate and is pawed at by Lundqvist’s glove and goes into the net.

Don’t believe me? Let’s slow it down. Follow the puck closely, friends.

There are a few things to take note of here:

  • I think that the .gif above paints a clear picture of Brassard’s distinct kicking motion.
  • The puck absolutely deflects down off of Staal’s butt before hitting Glass’ leg. Glass’ stick doesn’t knock the puck down to the ice.
  • From Glass’ body the puck goes under both of Staal’s arms - which means it never touches Staal’s stick. That is another stick we can cross off of the list.
  • The puck hits Smith’s skate (not Kyle Turris’ stick blade) and gets pawed at by Hank’s glove before crossing the goal line./

The real question here is whether or not Glass gets a stick on it when the puck is fluttering near or over the end of Lundqvist’s left leg pad. That’s the only other opportunity for a stick to have touched this puck.

Unfortunately there’s no great angle available to get an idea of what exactly happens before the puck glides under Staal’s best impersonation of a doggy.

Yeah, that is pretty much pure chaos.

I highlighted the most likely moment where Glass’ stick could have made contact with the puck. Let’s slow things down and use the top-down angle from before to see if Glass touched the puck with his stick.

This is all about where where things are. Remember, for this goal to count it has to touch off of a stick.

Note where Glass’ stick is - it’s at the end of Lundqvist’s pad. Does he move it quickly enough to tuck it underneath Staal’s thigh and tap it forward? I don’t think he does. But I also would buy the argument that suggests that there is no definitive angle to work from here.

So, what do you think? Good goal?