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Thank you to everyone who chimed in on the message board and via PM to give opinions on the four recent KHL play I reviewed for reported kneeing incidents or for “violent interference”. This was my take on how each of these plays should have been ruled on the ice. CASE 1: Reviewed for kneeing
This is a bad hit, where the checker led with the knee. The play merited a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct. CASE 2: Reviewed for kneeing
A five-minute major and a game misconduct were assessed on the ice. However, this was more properly a two-minute minor. The player who got upended worsened the contact by jumping int the contact and it was not a case of deliberately leading with the knee. CASE 3: Reviewed for kneeing
This one was a little more borderline than the first because the checker is turned to the side rather than going knee-to-knee. Nevertheless, he does have his leg dangerously extended to initiate the check and the call of a major on the ice was justifiable. CASE 4 (about 30-second mark): Reviewed for interference and contact to the head Nyet! Nothing wrong with this hit. It should not have been a penalty, as the defender was legitimately battling for a loose puck and, while the result of the hit was unfortunate, the would-be forechecker’s head was not targeted. The elbow was tucked and the primary point of contact was to the upper chest.
************ Paul Stewart holds the distinction of being the first U.S.-born citizen to make it to the NHL as both a player and referee. On March 15, 2003, he became the first American-born referee to officiate in 1,000 NHL games.
Today, Stewart is an officiating and league discipline consultant for the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and serves as director of hockey officiating for the ECAC.
The longtime referee heads Officiating by Stewart, a consulting, training and evaluation service for officials. Stewart also maintains a busy schedule as a public speaker, fund raiser and master-of-ceremonies for a host of private, corporate and public events. As a non-hockey venture, he is the owner of Lest We Forget.
In addition to his blogs for HockeyBuzz every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Stewart writes a column every Wednesday for the Huffington Post.