When Andrei Svechnikov tied last Tuesday’s game against Calgary 1-1, he made NHL history. For the first time the “lacrosse-style” goal (aka The Michigan Goal), made famous by Mike Legg in 1996, was successfully introduced to the NHL. Though it had been attempted before, no one had ever converted on the play.
“How do you defend that? I don’t know,” the posterized David Rittich said after that game. “Good play. Smart. Sick, sick move by him. I don’t know what I can say about it. I have to see it on video and see what I can do better.”
It left every NHL fan in awe and hopeful this could be a new way the league’s star players could attack the net in search of goals. But it also opened up a question of legality.
The jumping off point for that was the fact Svechnikov’s stick had to hit David Rittich in the mask to complete the attempt. Though not against the NHL’s rules — which allow “accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a … follow through of a shooting motion” — the point was raised that this could be a worthy discussion to have as it relates to player safety. No one wants to remove offence from today’s game, but if a goal requires an attacker’s stick to be up in a goalie’s face, should that be OK?