As the title says, being a referee isn’t easy. While fans watch zoomed in angles on high-def televisions, the men in stripes get one real-time glance to make their decision. Certain things are reviewable, but others – like goalie interference – are not.

(*Side note – let’s just make goalie interference reviewable. Deal? Cool. We solved that issue.)

Last night in the Anaheim, the Ducks tied the game against the Bruins in the third period, which is a pretty damn good thing when you’re trying to make a desperation playoff push. The puck went in, Turco was bummed he got scored on, and the tally went on the board. Only it didn’t.

The refs decided to call that ancient “player in the crease” rule that I thought we all agreed never to mention again unless the player directly interferes with the goalie.

Still, it may have been the right call. I could’ve lived with the goal standing, but on a technicality, it was right.

It got us at theScore curious about some of the worst “no-goal” calls made in recent years. After getting swept up in a YouTube vortex, we’d like to share with you what we found.


This is the worst call of the bunch – the Flyers are denied an OT winner (November of 2010) AND assigned a penalty because Pronger had the audacity to direct on-ice traffic like a good leader.

Bourne’s ruling: Goal, no penalty, brutal call.


Up next is a goal from six weeks ago, in which Rich Peverly skates between an aggressive Ryan Miller and a defensemen to get in front of the net. HOW DARE HE.

Bourne’s ruling: Goal, no penalty, bad call.


The 2011 Winter Classic featured a debatable no-goal call too, this time by Alex Ovechkin. He’s headed back behind the net, gets momentarily tangled with Marc-Andre Fleury, then pops out front of the net to score. This one is just a matter of odd circumstances:

Bourne’s ruling: Ovy’s not trying to do anything malicious. He’s not trying to hinder Fleury from doing anything. But the goaltender still isn’t allowed to play his position, so you can’t allow the goal to stand. No penalty, but also no goal. Your thoughts?


It’s the 2011 playoffs. Habs vs. Bruins. Game six. April 26th.

The game is just getting under way and the Centre Bell is rocking.

That poor ref. I’m not exactly sure where a referee is supposed to be on rushes, but where he is in relation to Thomas and the puck doesn’t allow him to see that it’s clearly loose.

Bourne’s ruling: This should’ve stood as a goal because the whistle shouldn’t have been blown, but hey – the ref lost sight of the puck – what’s he supposed to do?


If you can think of any other terrible no-goal calls (like this Simon Gagne goal that was very likely in), feel free to share ‘em with us in the comment section. I feel bad for refs, but sometimes the errors are just too glaring to not call out.

Comments (28)

  1. As for the Ovechkin goal, because the contact is outside of the crease, you have two options – no goal and penalty or goal and no penalty. Incidental contact with the goalie outside of the crease is no penalty, “other than incidental contact” is a penalty.

    Because Fleury is really responsible for the contact there, at least IMO, I would have gone no penalty and counted the goal.

  2. From a Columbus Blue Jackets game at Nashville on February 27 last year. It may follow the letter of the law, but holy moly it’s obvious the puck is in the net.

  3. There was a Kris Letang goal against the Blue Jackets this year waived off for interference by Kunitz. It doesn’t even look like he touched the goalie at all. It turned out okay though because Letang scored on the remaining power play.

    • This is the very first thing I thought of, probably because it was fairly recent, but I don’t see it on the internet. Mysterrrrrrious.

      Poor Kunitz has been involved in one million (approx.) disallowed goals this season, varying degrees of legitimacy. That one was by far the worst. He was probably two feet away from contact.

  4. this goes against the trends here, but here’s a goal counting that was not a goal. Last year’s Hossa’s kicked in “goal” against the Blues. 1. He kicked the puck and never touched it with his stick. 2. No clear evidence that it even crossed the line. Just like the blue jackets/nashville one above, there needs to be better goal line technology.

  5. That was Turco in net vs. Anaheim, not Thomas. Oopsie.

  6. “The puck went in, Thomas was bummed he got scored on, and the tally went on the board.”

    Turco was the goalie with the glorious glowing pads last night.

  7. Just a note: Turco was in net for the Bruins last night.

  8. I agree, being a ref must be really hard and probably sucks a lot of the time, especially when the calls are controversial. I wonder how many of them have nightmares about calling the wrong thing in a playoff game.
    That Pronger goal may have started out as “traffic direction”, but it ended up being Pronger just putting his arm up in the sightline of Kiprusoff for no reason. Much like waving the stick in front of the goalies face (a la Sean Avery), that kind of move has no place in hockey. No goal.

  9. ‘Thomas was bummed he got scored on”
    side note* Thomas was not in net Turco was.

  10. I’m gonna have to disagree with you on the Ducks’ goal. Cogliano may not have touched Turco but he DEFINITELY interfered with him. As a goalie I can say you NEVER play that deep in the net on a shot. Had Cogliano not been there he would’ve held the post, and once the puck was passed out front he would’ve moved right out to the top of the crease, but since Cogliano was there he could only stay right along the goal line.

    • This is a laughable comment. Cogliano was outside the blue paint and didn’t interfere with Miller at all. It was just the refs being over sensitive and not wanting to hear Miller cry and complain the rest of the game.

      • It’s more laughable when you can freeze the video as Peverly shoots and see both of Cogliano’s skates in the blue paint. That’s the problem. He doesn’t touch Turco, but he’s not allowed to screen him from there, either.

        Table 18 of the rulebook covers this in scenario #5, “Screening Situations,” and example B) is “An attacking player skates in front of the goalkeeper, well inside the crease, at the same time a goal is being scored. The attacking player remains in motion and, in the judgment of the Referee, maintains a significant position in the crease impairing the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal.”

        Boudreau has a right to demand an explanation and should get one – and in this case there’s a good one to give, whether or not he agrees with it. (BTW, I have no rooting interest either way in this case.)

  11. You know the Bruins goal should have been good because without a doubt Miller would have been bitching out the refs if he thought he was interfered with. His reaction to the goal is very telling. I was okay with it though, that goal would have drastically affected the game and I doubt it would have ended up being the blowout that it was.

  12. I’m genuinely stunned at the amount of people that, after the Turco thing was pointed out …pointed out the Turco thing. It’s taken care of now, thank you.

  13. On that Pronger goal, isn’t that similar to what Avery did against Brodeur? Obviously not as egregious, but along the same lines. I guess Pronger was not completely ignoring the run of play like Avery, but I can see why they’d call that back.

    • I disagree with you here. Pronger is not facing Kipper and therefore has no idea he’s blocking his view, and he only pointed once, instead of waving his hand around in front of Kipper’s face. This should have been a goal, and no penalty. Pronger was a secondary victim of Avery’s toolishness… all the refs were super-hyper vigilant about distraction penalties.

    • Completely agreed. I think it’s a stupid rule, but it’s still a rule; and this was very obviously Pronger waving his hand in Kiprusoff’s face. That’s why Pronger turned away from play and toward Kiprusoff, that’s why Kiprusoff responded by standing up to look over the hand and then slashing Pronger’s leg, and that’s why the referee called the penalty.

      Stupid rule, great call.

  14. First one that came to my mind, as a Blues fan, was the “intent-to-blow” call against Vancouver in the playoffs a few years back. Couldn’t find a video of it, though.

  15. Not a ‘no-goal’ call, but a ‘missed goal’ call.
    Game 6 SCF; Calgary Wins Stanley Cup…. Oh, wait no… We had a Game 7.
    Skip to 4:30.

  16. First one that came to my mind was Bozak’s disallowed goal against Pittsburgh, first game after the all-star break.

  17. Thanks for linking to the Gagne goal which is actually one of my uploads, but you kinda missed the reasons behind it. The reason it was disallowed had nothing to do with the refs or a failure of video review. The reason it wasn’t given was because FSN Pittsburgh did not send all footage from angles to the video review in Toronto. It in fact withheld the footage that showed Fleury fishing the puck out of the net which was clearly behind the blue line. One guy from FSN Pittsburgh was suspended over the matter. I did make that video a response to the video of the FSN Pittsburgh feed, but that video was taken down by the uploader at a later date. More info in the video description on YouTube.

    Anyway, as a replacement I offer this James van Riemsdyk goal which is very borderline on the high sticking of the puck by Giroux immediately before it. I think it was equal to shoulder height (which would make it a legal play since the puck did not directly enter the net):

  18. Brad May (when he was on the Wings) had a goal scored against theStars that was in the back of the net before the whistle was blown that didn’t count. Too bad because I think it was the only one he scored that year.

    Here it is:

  19. Marian Hossa, game-tying goal in Game Three of Wings-Ducks, gets taken away because the Ducks happen to be wearing their black pants… puck camouflage! Link to Puck Daddy’s story here:,161510

  20. How has no one mentioned this one? Way back in a time when the Oilers actually still had a chance to make the playoffs, they got totally screwed.

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