Lundqvist ticked at goal interference


LOS ANGELES -- Sitting in his dressing room stall after a crushing 5-4, double-overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist peeled the tape off his skate, balled it up and fired it. The frustration of the loss was still fresh. Especially a loss in which he felt the Kings got unnecessary assistance.

Aside from the game winner by Dustin Brown, there was no goal bigger than  Dwight King's third-period goal for the Kings. It cut New York's 4-2 lead down by one.

In Lundqvist's opinion, it should have been disallowed.

King and Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh were wrestling for position at the top of the goal crease when King deflected a  Matt Greene shot past Lundqvist. There was clear contact between King and Lundqvist before the goal, even more after. There was no call made on the ice, and the goal stood.

"They score a goal and I can't even move," Lundqvist said after the game. "I don't expect a penalty on the play, but they need to blow the whistle. A goalie can't move when you have a guy like that on top of you. It's such an important play of that game."

After the goal, Lundqvist slammed his stick on the ice. He also had words with referee Dan O'Halloran. Lundqvist said he was told that the puck had already passed him when the contact occurred.

"I don't buy it," he said. "That's a wrist shot that I'm just going to reach out for, and I can't move. It's a different game after that. It's such an important play in the game."

Making it worse for Lundqvist, Rangers forward Benoit Pouliot got a two-minute penalty in the second period for interfering with Jonathan Quick, a call Lundqvist didn't like.

"Benny got pushed in and tried to avoid him, and he gets two minutes. And the puck was not even there," Lundqvist said. "Then, we have the same play and they score. I don't think it's a penalty, but you've got to stop the play if the goalie can't move in his crease. It's not like I'm outside the crease. I play pretty deep. Just be consistent with it."

The controversy is just the latest involving goalie interference during this postseason.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper was unhappy when a Ryan Callahan goal was disallowed in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens because of goalie interference.

The San Jose Sharks were livid when Kings forward Justin Williams appeared to push goalie Alex Stalock and the puck in with his stick after Stalock made the initial save during a controversial goal in Game 6 of the first round. The Sharks never recovered from that goal in that game and ultimately the series.

In Game 1 of the Western Conference finals,  Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews had a goal disallowed because of contact with Quick. It was controversial not because the goal should have counted, but because there was confusion as to whether or not a goal was called on the ice.

Goalie-interference calls, as hockey fans have learned so well this spring, are not reviewable, at least for now. Next week in New York, the NHL's competition committee will meet on Monday, and the league's general managers will meet on Wednesday. In light of these controversies, goalie interference and replay will likely be discussed once again.

One NHL source told ESPN The Magazine there was momentum at the last general managers meeting to expand replay, including a suggestion to put a monitor in the penalty box to help with goalie-interference calls, but the GMs received pushback from the league on the issue. There's a real fear of unintended consequences if replay is expanded in a sport that makes it much more complicated than in other sports.

Asked at his annual state-of-the-game news conference before Game 1 about expanded replay, commissioner Gary Bettman said the league plans to continue moving with caution when it comes to replay.

"If we're going to take the next step and it's something we're discussing internally, it's going to have to be a series of discreet things we're comfortable we can get right," Bettman said. "Yes, you have an occasional call that is wrong, inopportune, glaring in its consequence, but when you devise a system to deal with those handful of instances, are you going to make it worse by the unintended consequences that follow? That's why we move slowly."

Lundqvist had just one request for those gathering to examine rule changes in regards to goalie interference.

"Be consistent with it," he said. "If they don't call that [on King], you can't call what they called in the second period."