Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sharks' Karlsson Granted a Penalty Shot on Iffy Call, and Scores

In one of the stranger calls you'll ever see, San Jose's Melker Karlsson was awarded a penalty shot after a stick tap by Jacob Trouba that forced him to mishandle the puck as he rambled in on a breakaway.

But checking the stick of an opponent is not illegal. Trouba didn't slash Karlsson's stick, he simply tapped it. Under the rule 61.1 for "slashing" the NHL rulebook states that "Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgment of the Referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, shall be penalized as slashing."

If the referee felt that Trouba's stick check was forceful or powerful, then he was within his rights to call the penalty shot, because Trouba was behind Karlsson and Karlsson had control of the puck prior to the "slash." But is that really the type of stick check that can be characterized as a slash? Don't you basically have to break an opponent's stick to draw that call?

After the game Paul Maurice aired out his opinion of the call:

"It's not a penalty," he said. "It's not a penalty."

Karlsson scored on the breakaway and added the game-winner at 15:27 of the third, his fifth in two games.

The Sharks notched the 4-3 win to climb into first in the Pacific Division with 64 points. The Jets nearly tied the game with :17 seconds left but it was ruled that they had scored after the whistle.