Once upon a time, I played hockey for a coach who was pro-running the goalie. Not all the time, or anything, just as a momentum changer (which I add as a qualifier, like somehow that makes it okay).
He once requested that a teammate of mine flip a puck towards the goaltender, while someone else “goes hard to the net for a rebound,” who should then completely bowl over the helpless keeper without so much spraying a mist of snow. Then, he advised, I want you to turn, drop your mitts and take on the first comer.
Not exactly my style of play.
That said, there is a level of goaltender harassing I am cool with, and I figured that the hockey community should get on the same page with this stuff. I first got thinking that after watching this terrific highlight that I should probably save for the Post-Weekend WTF, but I just can’t wait.
For the record, this is quiiiite a bit across the line, but still fun to watch since no one got hurt.
That’s Patrick Elias basically kneeing Cam Ward in the face in the process of mowing him over like he’s one of those inflatable kids punching bags with sand in the bottom.
So players, goalies: what’s across the line in goalie abuse?
Not okay: The example at the top of this post, the video of Elias running Ward, any classic mowing over of a defenseless player. It’s flat-out dangerous, and I don’t care if you think Elias did it on purpose or not in the above video or not, if you’re cruising towards the net you may want to take a peek to see where Gary TonoGear is.
Okay: The snow spray. I know it’s petty, but goalies, please – it’s not going to take out your eye. And for us players, there has to be some way to annoy the jerk in the pipes if we can’t score. Composed goalies won’t care. Snapshows will be punished. That, I like.
Not okay: Hacking the hand of a covered puck. I played with a guy who loved to just slightly lose the race to a loose puck in the crease so he could get a finger-chop on the opposing goalie. That’s pretty weak, and can mess up a dude’s hand pretty good.
Okay: Everything short of pushing out a goalie’s skates that you can sneak onto the back of his legs IF he’s going to be so aggressive that there’s actually room to skate behind him. It should be a risk of leaving that blue paint (ala Tim Thomas), and therefore his calves should be as up for grabs as mine. Lord KNOWS they’re not afraid to chop back in return.
Not okay: “He’s out of the crease, hit him!” I know that somes goalies (again, like Tim Thomas) like to hit when they get the chance. But the fact of the matter is, most goalies don’t have a sniff how to hit or be hit. They’ve been in the crease their whole lives. Running a guy out there is barely any safer than doing it in the net.
Okay: Backing into the paint. Hey, it’s a tough game, let’s let those tears dry up.
Not okay: “Falling” on the guy after a whistle. Bottom of a dog-pile where humans are wearing knives on their feet probably isn’t a safe place. Just a guess though.
Okay: Any and all verbal abuse. I thrived on this, mostly because all goalies are bad at hockey and deserve to know it. AMIRITE??
So what say you? Am I green-lighting not much, or not enough goalie abuse? What’s your preferred method of goalie annoyance