Oct 16, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner (27) passes the puck against the New York Rangers at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Should Karl Alzner Have Received a Penalty for Shooting a Glove at Daniel Sedin?

Washington Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner clearly shot a glove at Vancouver Canucks left winger Daniel Sedin during the second period of Monday night’s game between the two teams.

Referees Ian Walsh and Chris Rooney did not call a penalty shot on the play leading to some fans wondering why.

The play reminded me of a similar one back on March 27, 2009 against the Colorado Avalanche:

Ian Laperriere kicked a teammate’s broken stick and it struck the puck as the Canucks were trying to score. In addition to the penalty shot, Laperriere received a ten minute misconduct and a game misconduct. Shot: Demitra fired a backhander, but Raycroft managed to get his arm in the way and the puck deflected off his glove.

It was a case where Rule 53.6 was applied:

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.

Why wasn’t it applied again when Alzer shot the glove at Sedin?

Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser who regularly responds to referee-related questions at TSN.ca had this to say:

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.

He reasons Daniel Sedin was not affected by the glove thus it was the right decision to not call a penalty shot. What about a minor penalty?

Rule 53.2 reads:

When a defending 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.

Fraser says he believes Walsh (the referee closest to the play) didn’t see it, so no minor was called.

Referee Walsh then altered his posture and sightline to follow the path of the puck onto Daniel Sedin’s stick behind the goal line against the end boards. With this sightline Walsh did not see the glove being shot by Alzner as he moved toward Daniel Sedin.

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