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How the NHL should solve puck-kicking controversy

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NHL Rule 49.2 came under scrutiny after Blake Coleman's no-goal in the Flames-Oilers series but on the latest episode of Zone Time, Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie propose two different approaches to clear up the grey area concerning pucks that end up in the net off a player's skate.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I think the call on the ice has to matter, right? Because it wasn't conclusive. But at the same time, I think Blake Coleman used his foot to propel the puck over the goal line. So I'm not, like, that sympathetic, right? Like, he's cr-- or was like, yeah, he's trying to brace himself from it. No. He put his foot on the puck because he was trying to make sure that it went into the back of the net.

I don't really think there's any disputing that. He used his foot to score a goal, so I don't think they can be too angry. But it was going in, I think, and it was not any more egregious than anything we've seen over the course of the regular season. I think it's really simple. They just have to define what a kicking motion, which is just if you lift your skate off the ice to propel it, then it's a kick. If you angle it in whatever way and extend it, whatever, and it goes in off your foot, it's not a kick.

So just define the rule and then you don't have-- or you have less gray area. I'm sure there'll be reason to dispute things still, but I don't know. Again, Calgary Flames were in it, so not too upset about it.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I'll say this. Like, the fact that-- I-- look, I just-- I do not have a lot of faith in the people who are supposed to enforce these rules. I think for stuff like a kicking motion, or goaltender interference, there is too much gray area that all of a sudden comes up. And it's too subjective enough, and it gets to a point where one thing that looks like it should count ends up not counting, and then vice versa happens.

That's why, as much as it pains me to say it, I put out that Tweet saying, well, what if we just eliminated any kicking redirecting thing at all? Like, and-- and I know some people will say, like, hey, you're taking away goals that way. Well, you're also taking away confusion and consternation for fans and officials on how to rule over that stuff.

At this point, like, look, the referees, even if Gary Bettman will tell you they're the best in the world, they will find a way to mess stuff up. Why don't we make their jobs easier by saying, we're not allowing any goals that happen off of skates anyway? They say that, like, they don't want people kicking pucks in anyway, because of a league safety issue. Why not make it more safe? Why not do that?

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