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Posts Tagged ‘hitting’

Why Can’t You Hit the Goalie?

November 17, 2011 |  by  |  Featured, Sports  |  No Comments

The debate on whether or not the goalie should be ‘fair game’ when he leaves his crease was recently rekindled in spectacular fashion when Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic hit Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller during their game on November 12th.

Sports writers’ column-inches, normally intimidatingly large at this time of year, are suddenly frightfully claustrophobic.

It was a relatively common play that developed at about the two-thirds mark of the first period: Lucic and Miller were each racing for the puck, Miller getting there first, swatting it aside. What made this particular play uncommon was the fact that Lucic did not lay up or try to avoid Miller, as is almost always the case. Instead Lucic held his course, braced for impact, and plowed into Miller, sending the goalie cartwheeling, his mask flying.

Miller didn’t play the third period, but stuck around to give NHL fans and wags a rare treat indeed: an honest interview, one entirely devoid of tired platitudes or sports clichés; Miller called Milan Lucic a “Gutless piece of shit.”

During the sleepy days of mid-November hockey, the hit by Lucic and the ensuing lambasting by Miller serve up high-drama indeed. Sports writers’ column-inches, normally intimidatingly large at this time of year, are suddenly frightfully claustrophobic, radio call-in programs have their lines lit up by countless armchair Bettmans and Shanahans, and office coffee kitchens have seen sharp rises in the attendance at daily hockey-talk scrums. The only topic of discussion of course is “Why can’t you hit the goalie?”, the Lucic-Miller Incident serving as nucleation point for the issue that has always been simmering on the back of the hot-stove.

I’ll dip my oar into these muddied waters, I’ll explain why you absolutely cannot allow goalies to be hit.

I’ve often asked the question; I’ve wondered why should goalies be treated any differently from players when outside their crease. But as someone who became a goalie rather late in life, I’ve found a new perspective on the conventional wisdom and arcane mystery that surrounds the hockey goaltender.

And so, with this somewhat unique viewpoint, I’ll dip my oar into these muddied waters, I’ll explain why you absolutely cannot allow goalies to be hit.

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