Can we still be outraged about Karl Alzner shooting his glove at Daniel Sedin?

Stop hugging and be more outraged!

Prior to Monday night’s game versus the Washington Capitals, the Canucks seemed to really be struggling to draw penalties. I’d argue it was mostly bad luck. Sometimes you go through a stretch like that. But it led many fans to wonder if it had something to do with Vancouver’s not-entirely-fair reputation as the divingest team in NHL history, a rep that’s half lazy narrative and half Ryan Kesler’s showy acting choices. (He’s the Anthony Hopkins of diving. He needs to become the Daniel Day-Lewis of diving.)

Versus the Capitals, however, the Canucks got their powerplay chances. Six of them, in fact. They weren’t able to — wait for it — capitalize, but that’s okay. For the first time in awhile, they got calls.

But it was far from a flawlessly officiated game. In the end, it doesn’t matter, since the Canucks won, but the contest featured a blown call that, had they lost, would have been the topic du jour in Vancouver this morning. It could have changed the game’s whole complexion, like Clearasil. (Instead, the Canucks had to change it themselves, with Sedinasil, the only skin care cream made with Scandinavian twin magic.)

During a second-period powerplay, with the Canucks set up in the Washington end, Karl Alzner lost a glove. Then, when the puck went behind the Washington goal, where Daniel Sedin was parked, Alzner shot that glove at Daniel Sedin.

Thanks to Greg Wyshynski for uploading this clip, as well as giving us a brief moment with the Washington announcers, who called Henrik Sedin “one of the premiere feeders in the league.” Like a bird feeder. His linemates just land on his ledge and nibble seeds.

Anyway. This is a thing you cannot do, and yet Alzner did it. But even more surprising is that the game just hums along as though shooting your glove at the puck carrier is a pretty standard part of it.

It’s not. Section 53 of the NHL rulebook touches on throwing or shooting equipment at an opponent, and not in a “this is a fun thing you should try!” sort of way. It’s illegal, and the whistle should have blown. Did the referee just forget the rules or something?

Our initial understanding, according to section 53.6, was that it should have been a penalty shot, actually:

53.6 Penalty Shot – When any member of the defending team, including the Coach or any non-playing person, throws or shoots any part of a stick or any other object or piece of equipment at the puck or puck carrier in his defending zone, the Referee or Linesman shall allow the play to be completed and if a goal is not scored, a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team. This shot shall be taken by the player designated by the Referee as the player fouled.

Considering the Canucks were, at that time, locked in a 1-1 tie, a penalty shot probably would have been nice.

But on Tuesday morning, Kerry Fraser, who knows a thing or two about missed calls, weighed in on the debate. According to the retired NHL referee, yes, the play should have drawn a whistle, but only for a minor penalty. Rule 53.6 is broadly worded, but rule 53.2 gives a clarification for instances of glove-shooting that don’t affect the puck carrier’s ability to make a play. From TSN:

For your insight into the interpretation and expected standard of enforcement the Refs have been directed to follow, I refer you back to 53.2; “When a player shoots or throws a stick or any other object at the puck or the puck carrier in the defending zone but does not interfere in any manner with the puck or puck carrier, a minor penalty shall be assessed.”It is imperative that the object shot or thrown directly alters the movement of the puck or directly affects the decision and motion of the puck carrier.

Neither of these situations was present. Daniel Sedin didn’t flinch when the glove landed between his skates against the end boards. Instead, Daniel proceeded to make his intended pass away from traffic to Dan Hamhuis who had pinched down low at the corner goal line from his point position. Given the resulting circumstance as described herein a minor penalty for interference (53.2) should have been assessed.

A minor penalty would have been nice too, since it would have meant about a ninety second five-on-three in the middle of a tie game. Missed calls are a fact of life, but this one’s pretty dismal. How did it happen?

As Fraser explains in that folksy “aw shucks, another missed call, well, whatever, it’s not like we’re counted on to enforce the rules” way of his, the glove shot was just missed entirely. Right at the moment Alzner flicks it at Daniel’s feet, Ian Walsh, the official in the corner, is making a determination on whether the crosscheck John Carlson just gave Ryan Kesler is a penalty. It’s only a split-second, but by the time he looks back, the glove is at Daniel’s feet and he’s not sure how it got there.

That’s just good luck if you’re Alzner.

As I said, in the end, it doesn’t matter, although, I mean, really, who shoots a glove? Real men throw it, isn’t that right, Kevin Bieksa?

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22 comments

  1. Clayton Imoo
    October 29, 2013

    I was at the game and this happened right in front of me. It was quite comical, especially when Sedin didn’t even react. Then, when the puck was cleared to the other end of the ice, the referee casually put the glove into the Capitals net until the next stoppage (which didn’t come for a while).

    It wasn’t until the next TV timeout that Alex Burrows went and fished the glove out of the net.

    Classy guy that Burrows.

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  2. StevenK
    October 29, 2013

    What I’m hearing Fraser say is that Daniel should have flinched to make it easier for the ref to make the call.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 29, 2013

      Yeah man. A little embellishment goes a long way sometimes. I remember a play once where the Canucks scored on the Leafs and if one guy had embellish a little interference, the goal wouldn’t have happened.

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      • Neil B
        October 29, 2013

        Whoops, that was supposed to be a thumbs up.

        My 5-month old is teething; I claim temporary insanity.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      October 30, 2013

      And therein lies the rub. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and by writing the rules in such a way as to punish the results of plays rather than the intents, the NHL is just asking for diving/embellishment.

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  3. RobG
    October 29, 2013

    What I got from Fraser’s analysis is that Daniel should have embellished it to gain the attention of the referee. Excuse me while I go find the irony in that,

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  4. Raftgeek
    October 29, 2013

    Doesn’t matter if he had flinched or not because the Ref missed it right?

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  5. mb13
    October 29, 2013

    Canucks fans outraged?

    It’s funny how fans take on the reputation of the team… or is it the team of their fans.

    So were Canucks fans always annoying and whiners or did they take their cue from the players and the GM?

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    • peanutflower
      October 30, 2013

      what do you mean by this, exactly.

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      • mb13
        October 30, 2013

        Canucks fans are just like their team … annoying and whining. I’m curious what came first.

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        • NarkusMaslund
          October 30, 2013

          It always amazes me that there are actually people out there who waste their time bothering to troll on the internet. I have so many better things to do with my life than waste my time attempting to aggravate Flames and Oilers fans on their websites. It’s just…baffling to me.

          Of course, I’ve now gone and wasted a minute or so writing the above…so maybe I do have the time. It’s just…why would I bother? Why would I care?

          But regardless of the time involved, there are many who seem to find much amusement in aggravating random strangers behind the safety of an internet browser. I’d be genuinely curious in how that improves one’s life in any fashion. Because apparently, there are people that derive great enjoyment out of this. So very strange to me.

          In any event, if it makes you so happy, carry on, little troll. Carry on.

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          • mb13
            October 30, 2013

            I’m not an Oilers fan nor a Flames fan… I’m a former Canucks fan who got tired of the players constantly whining and the fans joining in. I personally like a team that shuts up, puts their head down and gets to work. Not spending half their time photo-bombing, tweeting from what may or may not be your account and frankly acting quite arrogant for a bunch that has never won much. That’s why I have nothing but respect for the Sedins. The rest of the team can learn a lot from them starting with their attitude.

            Now… How does posting here give me enjoyment…. well I appreciate a good debate/argument. If you disagree with what I have to say, great. Maybe you can change my mind… or maybe you’ll see things my way… what’s wrong with that?

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            • Chris the Curmudgeon
              October 30, 2013

              So, perhaps you could point out such a team for all of us? Or have you stopped watching NHL altogether and prefer to simply comment about it secondhand?

              I don’t see how wanting the rules to be applied consistently constitutes whining. You might as well call half of the major figures in human history “whiners” because they didn’t like what the king/emperor/dictator was doing.

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              • mb13
                October 31, 2013

                I don’t have time to analyze 30 teams and their fans. Since I live in Vancouver, I’ll comment on the local team and their “fans”.

                Wanting the rules applied consistently does not constitute whining. It’s the way that Vancouver fans demonstrate their want that constitutes whining.

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  6. shoes
    October 29, 2013

    Outstanding posts mb13 and cambo….glad you two found each other.

    So Kerry Fraser is saying that the ref was looking at the crosscheck/interference on Kesler and by doing so missed how another penalty got missed right in front of his eyes

    And Cambo and mb13, are whining about the Canucks fans complaining that two wrongs don’t make a right. Only in the NHL. If C. Campbell was running MLB….the Cards win last night.

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  7. madwag
    October 29, 2013

    annoyed surely that nhl officials seem not to know the rules of the game.

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  8. Naturalmystic
    October 29, 2013

    It was unintentional which is why there was no penalty shot.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 29, 2013

      There are reasons why it wasn’t a penalty shot. That’s not one of them. Not sure how you could possibly see that as unintentional, but that doesn’t even matter, as intent isn’t even mentioned in the rule.

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  9. will
    October 29, 2013

    The takeaway I got from this article was how (expletive) funny Bieksa throwing his glove at that Wild player was at the time.

    Almost as good as last year when the referee called a penalty on Bieksa and announced it just like they were on a first name basis: ” Vancouver, minor penalty, #3…Kevin. “

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  10. Jacob
    October 29, 2013

    Re: “Can we still be outraged?” – of COURSE we can, we’re Canucks fans. Outrage is our birthright! (That said, while it was pretty clearly a missed penalty call, it’s hard to blame anti-Vancouver bias for that one, unless Spector’s starting rumours back East that the Canucks have developed telekinetic powers in their mind room…)

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    • Wagman
      October 30, 2013

      Well the Sedins are wizards – maybe this is a skill that had yet to be noticed… further analysis may reveal that they have done this on many occasions before, such as Daniel forcing Marchand’s glove to grace his face multiple times. Unfortunately the refs appear to be immune to such spells.

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  11. Iain
    October 30, 2013

    it seems i’m not alone in thinking that Kerry Fraser’s ‘explanation’ was more than a bit weak. precis’ed, it said “refs are human and frequently do not execute their job properly, so don’t have a cow about it, eh” normally i find Kerry to be entertaining and educational, but his response to this one was less than impressive.

    one can only hope that the NHL officiating hierarchy had a quiet chat with the team that worked the game and asked them to brush up on their rulebook and to get down to the optometrist.

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