NHL Rule 85.1 Is Irrelevant to the Detroit Red Wings’ Illegal Goal and the Video Review Process

So the latest argument against the video review of the Detroit Red Wings’ goal off the out-of-bounds (“spectator”) net is that NHL Rule 85.1 somehow eliminates the review process.

Here is Rule 85.1, the part related to this issue that proponents of this argument advocate:

Should the puck strike the spectator netting at the ends and the corners of the arena, play shall be stopped and the ensuing face-off shall be determined as if the puck went outside the playing area. However, if the puck striking the spectator netting goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials, play shall continue as normal and resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play. Players must not stop playing the game until they hear the whistle to do so.

If your first thought was “so”, well, that’s the point.

1. If the puck strikes the netting

2. And it goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials

3. Play shall continue as normal

4. And the resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.

That is the rule and the bolded part is what proponents claim kills NHL Rule 34.1 viii.

Let’s first be clear about the actual words used, or, in this case, not used. Rule 85.1 is NOT:

1. If the puck strikes the netting

2. And it goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials

3. Play shall continue as normal

4. And any resulting goal thereafter shall be deemed a good hockey goal and unreviewable.

It generally takes a leap to get to the land of conclusions and those advocating NHL Rule 85.1 eliminates video review are getting a long, running start.

Let’s engage in some analysis. When children argue, they sometimes fold their arms and say “NO!” That is not analysis. This is:

1. The puck hits the out-of-bounds netting and lands on the ice. Then, any of these things happen:

a. Drew Doughty takes the puck and shoots it over the glass. No penalty right? No delay of game. Because “the resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.”

b. Red Wings forward Tatar picks up the puck with his hands and stuffs it in the L.A. Kings goal. Good goal, has to be, because “the resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.”

c. Tatar kicks the puck to Kronwall who then kicks it into the goal with a distinct kicking motion. Good goal again. Why? Because “the resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.”

You can come up with more examples.

The point is, when evaluating an intent of any rule, it is best to use its plain meaning and not make wild assumptions about what the drafter meant to write. If its analysis results in absurdities, then the interpretation is unsound. The most fundamental rule of interpretation and intent (of statutes, rules, contracts, etc.) is a more specific provision is given precedent over a general one. Otherwise, general provisions would “swallow” specific provisions and a contract or rule intent by those specific provisions would be given little to no effect.

Rather than cite California law on these issues, I will make it easier. From Wikipedia that gives you a decent summary of the plain meaning rule:

“A statute is to be read word for word and is to be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning of the language,unless a statute explicitly defines some of its terms otherwise or unless the result would be cruel or absurd. Ordinary words are given their ordinary meaning, technical terms are given their technical meaning, and local, cultural terms are recognized as applicable. The plain meaning rule is the mechanism that prevents courts from taking sides in legislative or political issues…”

So, what do you have here?

First, a specific rule:

Rule 38.4 viii:

(viii)  The video review process shall be permitted to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g. to ensure they are “good hockey goals”).  For example (but not limited to), pucks that enter the net by going through the net meshing, pucks that enter the net from underneath the net frame, pucks that enter the net undetected by the referee, etc.

Clear? Let’s look at plain meaning and its specific provisions:

1. Video review process SHALL be permitted

2. to assist the REFEREES

3. in determining the LEGITIMACY

4. of ALL POTENTIAL GOALS (not some, not a few, not limited in any way)

5. to ENSURE (meaning 100% certainty or as close as one can get)

6. they are GOOD hockey goals (as opposed to BAD hockey goals)

7. For EXAMPLE (meaning some ways it could apply)

8. BUT NOT LIMITED TO (meaning that these examples are not intended to place a limitation on review of ALL potential goals and their LEGITIMACY to ENSURE they are GOOD goals)

9. And then a few examples are given.

Specific? Yes. Clear? Absolutely. Any limits placed on it? No, EXPRESSLY limitless by its SPECIFIC language.

Does NHL Rule 85.1 carve out a specific rule that applies to ensuing goals after the puck hits the out-of-bounds netting? No.

Does NHL Rule 85.1 address or even mention: (a) a goal being scored (b) the video review process (c) in any way limiting either? Not even close.

The rule regarding video review is clear and unless there is a specific rule that eliminates or limits 38.4 viii or otherwise specifically states it is inapplicable to a goal that is scored after the puck goes, unnoticed, out of bounds (netting or otherwise), rule 38.4 viii controls.

The on-ice officials blew it. The video goal judge blew it. The NHL blew it. It is more than embarrassing. It is repugnant and places in serious question the integrity of this game we love.

I am open to discussion and dialogue. Perhaps there is another NHL Rule out there  that covers it. I have not yet seen it. But trying to claim NHL Rule 85.1 addresses ensuing goals and their legitimacy is obtuse and a shortcut to thinking.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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43 replies

  1. Scribe, You are dead on with this break down!! Especially your reading and interpretation of items 1-9 at the bottom. However I think you are missing a very important part of the NHL’s argument in rule 85.1 that makes them even more foolish and idiotic in defending that this play was not reviewable.

    The rule states “PLAY shall continue as normal and resulting PLAY with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate PLAY.” The important word here is PLAY. Because there was no subsequent RESULTING PLAY! No player on the ice made a PLAY on the puck. In the NFL, receivers are not deemed to have made a Catch until they A)have control of the ball and B) MAKE A FOOTBALL PLAY. PLAY being some kind of move, two full steps of running, etc.

    Lets say that net sent the puck all the way back into Detroits net, you better believe that would have been reviewed, because the four blind mice (illegal to be played at NHL games BTW) would have to figure out WTF just happened, as in RULE 38.4 viii !!!

    GREAT STUFF!! Keep it rolling, I hope the NHL is getting some of this in their IN box!


    • That was the point of the examples. If the rule is interpreted as any ensuing play is then legal (which is what its proponents state), then anything goes. That includes any penalty or goal following is legit.

      Good point by you too.

      This is akin to a fan throwing a puck into the net and the ref not knowing which puck is the right puck. Reviewed? If they didn’t see it?

      Let’s all take pucks to the next game

      • While I disagree a little with the hyperbolic examples you give about any play being deemed legal, mostly because the act of the puck hitting the goalie in the back and going into the net is not itself a violation of any rule, thereby making your extreme examples, while perhaps somewhat indicative of illustrating silly language to rule 85 whatever, not applicable to this scenario in that regard.

        However, the point here is about video review being using, and all you need to say is that nowhere does the rules state that if the refs miss the puck going out of bounds then video review becomes a null and void way to determine the legitimacy of a goal. That’s the end of the story, really.

        The catch here is that what rule 85 whatever is saying is that even IF they had used video review, it would not matter because since the ref missed it, the play and thereby the goal, counts. This is kind of the opposite to that shitty rule that allows refs to disallow a legitimate goal by saying “I meant to blow my whistle, I just didn’t do it”. This rule 85 is saying that had the NHL reviewed the play and told the refs “hey, puck went over the glass, play should have been called dead and the goal washed out”, this rule allows the refs to say “sorry, none of us saw that, so too bad, the play is good and any evidence bringing to light our failure to see the puck go over the glass is meaningless.”

        So while rule 85 doesn’t supersede the use of video review, it does make video review here inapplicable. That is how I am unfortunately reading this, and it makes it all the more fucking stupid. Because this rule also allows that if that puck comes down on Tatar’s stick and Tatar shoots it into the net bc Jonathan Quick knew it went out of bounds and stopped playing, that tough titty, good goal because the whistle didn’t blow and rule 85 seems to be there to prevent any argument from players saying “hey, I knew the play was supposed to be dead so I stopped playing”. Like I said, this is the opposite and highly contradictory, actually, to the rule bout refs meaning to blow their whistles.

        So in one scenario, where players keep playing bc there is no whistle blown, the play they engage in before a whistle is blown can be ruled to not exist on the scoresheet bc the ref MEANT to blow the whistle. In the other, where players stop playing bc they know a whistle is supposed to be blown for a non-contedable reason (unlike a penalty, which is somewhat open to interpretation, puck out of bounds is not) everything that happens afterward is legal bc the whistle hasn’t blown. So which is it NHL, the sound of the whistle is the be all end all marker of play, or the intent of the ref is?

        Why do we forgive the refs when he knows he makes a mistake and doesn’t blow a whistle he meant to blow, but condone when they make a real mistake and miss something that is not up for interpretation in the rules?

        I think rule 85 does make the goal a good goal by the rules, but I think rule 85 is a fucking ridiculous and unnecessary rule. The only good reason I can currently imagine for this rule existing is that without it, one could argue video replay be needed for situations other than goals.

        Also, without it, the following scenario could happen:

        Puck goes into netting, refs don’t see it. Few players do but no whistle is blown, puck comes down and players pick up play again. 5 minutes go by before another whistle. No goal is scored as a result of this. Now, without this rule, the NHL would be able to look and say those 5 minutes weren’t legal to play. Reset the clock and go back.

        Big deal.

        • I will give this a second read some other time because either you’re not Surly or a drunk Surly wrote this

        • This is exactly how I see it.

        • Unfortunately, that is how I read it too.

          • Yep. I read it this way too. Scribes absurdity argument does not hold. His examples are illegal plays that follow a failure to stop play under the rule. But the rule doesn’t read that way, unless, as Scribe points out, you take an absurdist interpretation of it (that any play is legal after this event, regardless of it normally being illegal). I can see how that interpretation can be extracted from the wording, but as Scribe himself pointed out, that isn’t the interpretation that holds. The most obvious and plain interpretation holds. And the way I read that rule under those terms is summarized as this: “If the puck hits the netting and the officials fail to see it – THE GAME CONTINUES LIKE NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENED”.

            Here is why I interpret that it is not reviewable. To use Scribe’s own summary:

            1. If the puck strikes the netting

            2. And it goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials

            3. Play shall continue as normal

            4. And the resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.

            The key is #3. The NHL has actually defined what happens in this case as a legal play. Let me repeat that. THE RULE IS WORDED SUCH THAT IT DEFINES A PUCK HITTING THE NET AS A LEGAL HOCKEY PLAY, WHEN NOT SEEN BY AN OFFICIAL. Reviews are meant to overturn a referee ruling that some thing ruled legal was not, or vice versa. In this case, legal vs. illegal play is DEFINED IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT THE OFFICIAL SAW IT, so it can’t be reviewed.

            Ok technically, anything can be reviewed. Rule 35 says a review can overturn anything ruled on the ice. But because the rule is worded in terms of legal vs. illegal depending on whether the ref saw it happen, doing so would be nonsense.

            * Summary: The ruling to overturn in this case is not whether or not the puck hit the net. The ruling that could have been reviewed on this play was to overturn the fact that the referee did not see it. Which is of course impossible with current technology.

            It seems foreign in this context, but we watch this kind of rule occuring every five minutes during a game, any time the ref fails to see a penalty, and play keeps going. Yep. It’s Schrodinger’s rulebook! The cat isn’t dead unless you SEE that it is dead. The play isn’t illegal unless the official SEES that it was illegal. This seems to be the wording behind all of the non-reviewable plays in the NHL rulebook. Nothing is explicitly stated as “unreviewable”, in fact, rule 35 directly contradicts such conditions. But by defining the legality in terms of the act of observation itself, it shifts reviewability from a concrete play that happened on the ice, to a subjective event inside the head of a person, which, at least for now would be an absurd thing to review on video.

          • I see the bare bones of what you just stated. Without going back to the Rules for whatever # it is..38 perhaps..before all the subsections. .it does say a play in this circumstance IS reviewable. Then it goes on to break down the different scenarios.
            The end result of all this is the KINGS got Screwed.
            Let”s see if this debacle lights a fire for corrective action in the NHL. Game has changed. .new rules amended all the time..concussion prevention..time for this to be addressed.

  2. I keep hoping that I’ll see more on this in NHL broadcasts. I may have missed it, but the only thing I’ve heard was a casual, not committal, comment about it during the second period of the Chicago vs. Boston game on NBC Sports. One of analysts said “all four referees missed it.” I would like to see some of the more respected analysts speak out about how bad that call was.

  3. I would even suggest a goalie hide a puck and just toss it in when the blind mice are not looking….GOAL!!!! Not reviewable!!!

  4. Is it ok to have a crush on your Brain?
    You truly are following your passion..nice job.
    Send that to the proper NHL personel.

  5. After struggling through Surly’s rant on the FARCE in Detroit, I must say that it was truly convoluted at best. Maybe Surly should give it another try on Monday, after he’s had some rest. :-)

    • He was much more coherent in our talk tonight. Although he still gets wound up real intense and kind of funny over it :)

      • That’s good! :-) This is a very irritating situation that is also very frustrating for all of us who care about the National Hockey League. It’s sad that those individuals who have the influence to make a very public comment on this issue are AFRAID to speak out against the NHL. They just say that we must accept what the NHL says. That leaves all of us to scream at each other on this blog!!!

        • I am not screaming. We are all having a beer…waiting on you to calm down ;)

        • So True..You KNOW the ball less suits at the Top think the fans are schmucks that will just have to accept
          what they say. Period. It insults our intelligence and passion for this Great Sport.
          Breaks our heart and Spirits but their insular thinking does not allow them to see this.
          Yes I feel frustrated..

  6. By Rule 38.5, the entire Toronto based review system is out of compliance:

    38.5 Logistics and Equipment – The Video Goal Judge must be located in
    a secluded area in the upper level of the building with an unobstructed
    view of both goals. The location must be large enough to seat three
    people (Video Goal Judge, Video Technician and Supervisor of
    Officials) and have space for necessary monitors, replay and
    recording equipment.

    That’s pretty explicit that replays must be done on site…

    Just one more example of having a League office that filters the world through a “Rule Book of Convenience.”

  7. Here’s my question. Why didn’t Quick turn around and catch the puck like I’ve seen him do before?
    He could’ve also moved into the net or skated out of the crease to get out of the way.
    I’m tired of the NHL finding new ways to fuck the Kings out of much needed and in this case earned wins!!

    • He didn’t see it

      Drew did.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Quick, obviously, lost sight of the puck too. Yes, if he had known where it was, he would have followed it and caught it. He could only stand with his back in close to the net and be ready for whatever happened next. It must have been a shock to feel it hitting him in the back!!!

  8. Any goal should be reviewable, period!

  9. Unrelated to the Detroit fuckup, but something obvious that occurred to me… why in the name of Anders Hakanson are they still using whistles?? There is no reason, other than nostalgia, to be doing that. You strap a Jeopardy style push-button device on the hand of each official. This device contains a small speaker that eminates the exact sound of a whistle, at what is deemed to be the exact ideal volume. It’s instantaneous, it’s idiot proof, and it’s more sanitary than those nasty whistles that probably haven’t been washed in 15 years. At least you could put the “I was planning on blowing the whistle” excuse to bed permanently. Or I could be hallucinating this whole thing…

    • Put me in charge of the NHL. I swear. I will modernize the game in so many effective and cheap ways that will have no effect on actual game play, but only on the accuracy of rules being enforced. Your suggestion is a good one. But how about proximity sensors in the puck and on the players skates, and at critical boundaries? If you think it’s not possible, think again. Soccer leagues have already started it this year. Sensors can tell you when the puck was all the way across the goal line. Sensors can tell you the puck is out of bounds. Sensors can tell you the team was offsides. Sensors can tell you the puck was iced. Let the officials focus on the subjective calls that require a human.

  10. Just a shoutout to remind everyone the game starts at NOON tomorrow! WTH?

  11. Rule 85.1 is ABSOLUTELY NOT irrelevant. It says that if the puck goes out of play and isn’t noticed by the on-ice officials then the play continues.

    And of story.

    There is nothing to review because IF THE ON-ICE OFFICIALS DON’T NOTICE IT, THE PLAY CONTINUES.

    Therefore, there is nothing to review. Goal stands.

    It is completely disingenuous to pretend that “resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play” means that all rules go out the window. It means that play continues as if the puck never left the playing area. If a goal is scored after that, it counts. If a player is called for a penalty, he serves it. If a player grabs the puck with his hand and throws it in the net, it is not a goal.

    • Thanks for posting. Good job. Yet, nothing you wrote about 85.1 changes that video review is expressly allowed by 34.1. The latter is more specific than the former and the former NEVER addresses video review or alters the broad scope of 34.1 viii.

      So, at best, you have a rule that on its face allows a review BUT is not implemented that way. That is why 85.1 doesn’t matter. It doesn’t address the core issue – video review of a GOAL which is all that matters here

    • The idiocy of that rule is beyond measure. Supposed the wings fired the puck, went off the netting at a weird angle, flew down to their zone, hit Howard on the melon and trickled in. Nne of the four zeebs saw the puck hit the netting. But they now see the puck in the other net. Must be a good goal then right? And because of this rule they can’t review it. Do you see who utterly retarded the logic is here? It’s common sense that it went off the netting

      It’s not that we got fucked by this but the rule is so inherently retarded that the league needs to seriously overhaul this shit because it’s 2014 and not 1914.

  12. It’s nice to have a digital recorder!! :-)

  13. Balls, we finally had an off game. It happens!

    I will say, I’m a bit pissed at the Marchand goal. That guy went through, Doughty, Kopitar, and after Carters wuss attempt on clearing the puck, Marchand then proceeded to go through, Quick! Man, that dude beat four of our best players on the same play. If it wasn’t against our team, I would be giving Marchand a ton of praise, but, geez, what the hell happened to our guys? How did one man destroy four of our best players? I’m ok with the off night, but I’m not ok with that single sequence of events. There’s no excuse for that. Just had to blow off some steam. I’m fine now!

    I’ll be pumped for tomorrows victory.

    • That short handed goal was some bullshit. 18 seconds later they score to go up. Happened in the wings game also. The Kings have a bad habit of doing that. Looks like TM’s influence isn’t completely gone.

      • Love DD but he needs an ass chewing..
        stick not moving..he gets stationary..goes to area and leaves guy exposed..if he wants to partner up with
        Muzzie (uugghh) he needs to be yapping at him so they can cover the other’s behind.

        • Everyone knows how talented DD is, but it seems that when there are bad decisions being made on the ice many will speak only about others. It’s a team effort. I have to agree that he has made some very bad decisions. It seems that his mind is sometimes on other things. I know, he’s only human, but with as much time as he spends on the ice, and as important as he is to the team, he should try to be more focused and try to improve his game. He’s young. He CAN be a better defenseman.

  14. @Modcoop: I read a couple of posts ago about you speaking about what your wife is going through. Hey man that’s a tough pill to swallow, my best to you and your wife and I hope she doesn’t have to undergo another surgery. God bless.

  15. you can’t review if the puck went out of bounds….that’s it, all other rules are specific to Goals…did it go over/under/through the goal, not if it went out of bounds then in the net. It’s a boundary review, not a goal review. No rule for boundary review.


  1. The NHL Needs Video Replay: The Los Angeles Kings Examples - Rink Royalty - A Los Angeles Kings Fan Site

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