BOSTON -- It has become clear (and painfully if you’re a position player trying to score) that goalies in the NHL are now being protected like quarterbacks in the NFL. Goalie interference calls seem to be more prevalent than ever, as referees clamp down on the infraction and have shown zero tolerance with forwards, who at times don’t even seem to make contact with the goalie.
Many players, however, were not ready for the extensive clamp-down.
“They're very sensitive to that, and it's not just us,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said Tuesday. “It's all around the league. They've really tightened up and maybe they're sending a message to everybody to kind of stay away from the goaltenders. Once we start being a little better about that, they might soften up a little bit on those calls.”
The Bruins and the Maple Leafs both had goals called back in the Bruins’ 1-0 win at Toronto on Saturday. The Canadiens, whom the Bruins play tomorrow, were the beneficiary of a goal (that would’ve tied the game at 2) called back in their 2-1 win over the Senators in Montreal. The replays of all three apparent goals did not do much to support the goalie interference calls, and on Tuesday Julien questioned both "non-goals" in his team’s win at Toronto Saturday.
“To be bluntly honest, it was questionable on Tuukka [Rask],” Julien acknowledged. “And then it was obviously extremely questionable on Brad [Marchand]. [James] Reimer sticks his pad out to start with and trips Marchand outside of the crease to start with and then we score.”
Bruins goalie Rask -- who appeared to embellish a bit on the goalie interference call that nullified a Cody Franson goal Saturday -- denied any exaggeration of interference on the play and said he feels for the referees in such a position.
“I don't know if they're keeping a closer eye on those or not, but calls are made during the play,” Rask said. “Sometimes they're questionable, sometimes they're not. I know that people have said I was flopping around [at Toronto Saturday]. I know they're tough calls for referees to make, too. Sometimes goalies like to challenge and come out of the crease a little bit and then they get bumped, so it's kind of tough to not make that call, but it's a fine line too. I'm sure the referees have been told to keep an eye on those and to try to make the right call.”