The Pittsburgh Penguins captain said Saturday that referees made the correct calls in taking goals away from the teams of fellow all-stars Matthews and McDavid this week due to goaltender interference.
Crosby believes the goalie interference rule has been applied fairly and supports the NHL’s use of video review.
“There’s been some situations where it’s probably been magnified. It happened in Toronto, and it happened in Edmonton, so you tend to look at it a little more,” Crosby said during the all-star game’s media day.
“As a player, you have a pretty good idea. If you affect the goalie’s ability to make a save, it’s not going to be a goal. I think it’s been pretty consistent. It’s tough in the moment to understand that.
“I watch a lot of hockey, and I like to think, as a player, I’m pretty aware when it’s going to be called back.”
During Monday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs centre Matthews had a goal overturned because he got caught up in goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s blocker. He scored on his next shift and made an emphatic “good goal” motion with his arm, mimicking a referee.
Matthews and Leafs coach Mike Babcock both said post-game they didn’t understand what constitutes goaltender interference.
“There’s definitely a bit of grey area there,” Matthews said Saturday. “Night in, night out, some stuff is goalie interference and some stuff isn’t. You kinda compare and it doesn’t make sense sometimes.”
On Thursday, the Edmonton Oilers had an overtime winner scratched off the board when the replay showed that McDavid’s skates hit the stick of Calgary Flames netminder David Rittich.
When McDavid later scored the shootout winner, he mockingly asked the referee if he wanted to double-check upstairs just to make sure.
“I think everyone just wants black and white,” McDavid said post-game. “I think everyone just wants it to be goaltender interference or not.”
Crosby takes no issue with the younger stars’ emotional reactions on the ice, but thinks the right calls were made.
“They want to win, and they’re competitive. I like that. It shows how bad they want it. You’re not always going to agree with every call that’s made. It’s not always going to be perfect,” Crosby reasoned.
“The two big ones, with Auston and McDavid’s goals, there is a little bit of contact. As much as a goal-scorer you want to see that count, it’s still a bit of contact with the goalie.”
Crosby conceded that “a couple times” the officials may make a mistake, but “I don’t think it’s to the point where you see one and have no idea whether it’s goalie interference or not.”
The three-time Stanley Cup champion is also supportive of the offside reviews, suggesting an overhead camera angle might make the most sense in properly evaluating these close calls at the blue line.
“Until it changes, we just have to deal with it and find a way to stay onside in those situations,” Crosby said.
With playoff races so tight and every goal so important, Crosby has no interest in seeing the NHL to revert back to referees’ judgment on these touchy plays. We have video review, so we should use it, he reasons.
“I’d rather we get it right,” Crosby said. “We have the ability to get it right.”
McDavid, too, was asked for his opinion on goaltender interference Saturday.
“I said my thing about it the other night,” McDavid said, “and I’ll leave it at that.”