ARLINGTON, Va. -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill had his say with Detroit reporters following the Sabres' overtime victory Thursday night in Little Caesars Arena and his gripe was clear: He was stunned about the lack of a goaltender interference call against Jason Pominville on Evander Kane's wraparound goal that gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Pominville skated directly into the crease and appeared to slightly impede the stick and movement of goalie Jimmy Howard moving to his left as Kane beat the goalie to the post and stuffed the puck home for his 20th goal of the season. The play was challenged and reviewed, but the goal was allowed to stand.
"I think Hockey Ops had done an unreal job for the first part of the year of making a grey rule as black and white as they could," Blashill said. "Basically, if you went in the blue on your own and you made contact with the goaltender and kept him from being able to play his position, it was going to be called back. I could go to my guys and say exactly what it was."
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 23, 2018
The league's ruling in conjunction with the on-ice officials was that "the position of Buffalo's Pominville did not by itself impact Howard's ability to play his position in the crease and therefore no goaltender interference infractions occurred."
MSG analyst Martin Biron, the longtime Sabres goalie, agreed with that position.
If Howard wants to make the save on Kane's goal all he needs to do is go butterfly slide on the wraparound. Pominville had no impact on the goal being scored. Howard played it wrong, simple call. Good goal.
— Martin Biron (@martybiron43) February 23, 2018
Blashill went on to say that this goal was an outgrowth of small-group meetings at the All-Star Game and Commissioner Gary Bettman's news conference that said goals should be wiped out only for obvious violations, and that referees needed to stop searching for reasons to disallow them.
"There was a feeling that too many goals were getting called back so then want to go back to this term 'egregious,'" Blashill said "Well, what's egregious mean? So now we're back to ultra-grey. All I know is Pominville had no reason to go into the crease, zero. He stood literally in front, right on the goalie.
"So I don't know what goalie interference is now. I don't know what egregious means. I know for sure that the player went in on his own, didn't allow our guy to play his position, kept our guy from making the save. I'm not sure what goalie interference is if that's not goalie interference."