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Blind Justice

17 March 2012, 11:06

The KHL Refereeing Department was called upon to explain two curious refereeing decisions from Wednesday’s Eastern Conference semi-final openers, with both incidents arising from problems of vision.

X-ray specs needed
During Game 1 of the series between Avangard Omsk and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, there was an episode in the 34th minute where Omsk defender Anssi Salmela fell and held the puck against the ice in his own goal crease. Having studied the incident, the Refereeing Department established that it would have been impossible for the referee, from his position behind the player, to confidently rule that the puck had been illegally held.

The rules state that when any player, other than the goaltender, deliberately falls on, holds or gathers the puck into his body when the puck is in his own team’s goal crease, the referee should award a penalty shot to the non-offending team. If the referee’s view of such crease violations is obscured, however, he does not have the authority to award a penalty shot based on a video replay of the incident.

Always look where you’re going
On the same day, in the 55th minute of Game 1 of the other Eastern Conference semi-final between Traktor and Ak Bars in Chelyabinsk, the Kazan forward Oleg Petrov was handed a minor penalty for interference as a result of colliding with Traktor goaltender Michael Garnett, despite Petrov clearly looking away from the goalkeeper at the time. The Refereeing Department has scrutinized the episode and points out that the goalie was in his own crease at the moment of contact with Petrov, and so according to the rules Petrov is guilty of interference even though the contact was obviously unintentional. Had Garnett strayed outside the goaltender’s crease, however, such a collision would not constitute a foul.

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