- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Braden Holtby enjoys contact in the crease. He enjoys being physical with opposing players and battling for positioning, considering it one of the more fun parts of being a goaltender.

That’s why on Tuesday, after a goal by Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov was overruled on a challenge by San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, Holtby expressed a particular degree of skepticism over the ruling.

“I mean, you get bumped like that 10 plays a game,” Holtby said, having seen the replay on the Verizon Center video boards during the officials’ review. “I think the ruling was put in there for the stuff that the ref can’t see that’s blatant. I think that’s a clean hockey play. If that happened to me, I wouldn’t even think of complaining about it. I hope that’s not the standard.”

At 9:39 of the second period, Orlov rifled a puck that was left dangling in the slot past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, drilling the crossbar near the top left corner before it dropped just as sharply past the goal line.

DeBoer called for a challenge, which was instituted by the league before this season, because his video coach, Dan Darrow, believed he saw Capitals center Jay Beagle make contact with Jones’ left side.

“He’s on the headset to Steve Spott, who’s on our bench, and Johan Hedberg, who’s our eye in the sky [in the press box], and the three of those guys really are the ones who make the call on that,” DeBoer said. “I’m just the puppet calling the timeout and telling them what we’re challenging. Can’t take any credit for that, but it was a great catch for our group and at a big time. That was a turning point, that goal called back.”

The goal could have cut the Capitals’ deficit to 3-1. The Sharks won, 5-0, scoring two additional goals on empty-netters in the final two minutes.

The review lasted approximately two minutes before referee Tim Peel disallowed the goal, announcing that Beagle “came through and made contact with the goalie” and “was unable to properly do his job.”

According to an explanation from the NHL, Peel reviewed all available replays and consulted with the hockey operations staff in Toronto, which is in line with Rule 78.7. Together, they determined “that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”

“That’s pretty light on that side, but there was contact, and if the standard is contact, it’s absolutely right,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “We’re going to have to be careful with that league-wide, because [if] goalies put their hands out in front and stuff like that, we’re going to be in a mess again. … To the letter of the law, it was a good call, I guess. I don’t totally agree, but since it went against me, obviously.”

Jones acknowledged that there was contact, “but I’ve seen it go both ways,” he said.

The replay was the first involving the either team during the preseason or regular season. Trotz suggested last week, after a challenge arose during the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, that he would ask the Verizon Center operations staff to cue replays of goals scored against the Capitals immediately so that he has enough time to review them.

“We might see a lot of goals getting taken away this year,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I don’t know. It’s a hard call. I think it depends on the staff that’s out there. Sometimes they might let that go. Sometimes they might not. It slows the game down pretty good, too, so I wasn’t a big fan of that, but that’s the rule.”

Coaches are now able to challenge whether goals should be disallowed because of goaltender interference or because a player was offsides. They can only request a challenge if they have not used their timeout, which Trotz had done slightly more than two minutes before DeBoer’s challenge.

Holtby, when discussing the way that the challenge could impact goaltending, recalled a time when goals would be disallowed if a player merely had the tip of his skates in the crease. He expressed worry that the flurry of reviews and disallowed goals would change the way goaltenders will be required to play.

“That being said, we’ll talk more about it, get a better idea of what the rhythm is going to be, but we weren’t close in that game,” Holtby said. “It didn’t matter.”

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