Mailbag: Why are goalies overprotected?

Why are players attacked every time they make contact with the other team’s goaltender? Whenever a goalie is touched, his teammates beat up on the player who touched him. It doesn’t make sense to me because there appears to be a double standard.

-From Joel in California

Rule 42.1 states…

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease area. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an opposing player makes unnecessary contact with a goalkeeper. However, incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

No doubt there is a double standard between goalies and players. Goalies can make as much contact with an opposing player without anyone attacking him, but if a player even touches the goalie all hell breaks loose around the net.

On November 12 during the 2011-12 season, Milan Lucic bowled over Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller, who was out of crease to play the puck. The rule deems this play illegal.

In his first game back, Miller was hit by Jordin Tootoo driving to the net on December 3, 2011. Deservedly so, Tootoo was attacked by Miller’s teammates.

A goalie being hit is a sin, but when a goalie hits a player, it is the best thing ever. In Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, Henrik Sedin was leveled by Tim Thomas at the top of the crease. This play is legal.

The reason why goaltenders in hockey are so protected now is because they can’t defend themselves. Their defensemen will have to do it for them. Due to the high number of concussions in sports now-a-days, the guy between the pipes is the last person you want injured with a head injury. Protecting the goaltenders is the number one job of defenders in the league today.

Goalies have more protection than players, but that doesn’t mean hitting a defenseless player on the ice should be legal.

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