Some various thoughts skittering around the internet and ol’ noggin on this Wednesday...
Here’s the take from the great resource Scouting the Refs on the play that injured Tristan Jarry. Should it have been a penalty? (Mike Sullivan barking angrily at the refs at the end of the second period would lead you to believe where he stood on the non-call).
From their article with a deeper dive on the play:
Henrique, cutting across the top of the goal crease, ran into Jarry, bumping his mask. A shot from Anaheim’s Ryan Strome appears to catch Jarry in the mask moments later. The goaltender fell to the ice before exiting for evaluation, clearly bleeding from an injury to the face.
There was no penalty called on the play by refs Trevor Hanson and Brandon Schrader. While it’s unfortunate that Jarry was injured, it did not appear that Henrique made contact intentionally, or that he was targeting the head. Further, the contact took place outside of the blue paint.
Since no goal was scored on the play, we’ll focus on the penalty portion of the goaltender interference rule (69.2):
In all cases in which an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, whether or not the goalkeeper is inside or outside the goal crease, and whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a penalty (minor or major, as the Referee deems appropriate). In all cases where the infraction being imposed is to the attacking player for hindering the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely in his goal crease, the penalty to be assessed is for goalkeeper interference.
Rule 69.4 covers more on contact outside the crease:
A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper.
In this case, the officials clearly felt the contact was incidental, with both jockeying for position outside the crease. Henrique’s focus in on the puck, not on initiating contact with the goaltender. While it’s unfortunate that there was an injury on the play – either from the initial bump or the subsequent shot to the helmet – it doesn’t appear that a penalty was necessarily warranted.
Even if Jarry’s mask came off completely, that wouldn’t mean an immediate stoppage in play. With the Ducks pressing, play would be permitted to continue while the attacking team has an imminent scoring chance, under Rule 9.6
The last part is perhaps the most interesting, Jarry while fallen actually stops another shot by Henrique after the Ryan Strome shot. Well, Henrique sort of shot it into Jarry’s fallen body at that point, but still, the puck remained out when it could have easily slid into the net, given the circumstances. It’s interesting that such a goalie could have and likely would have counted, even though Jarry’s helmet was removed.
For the rest, it looks like the rule was applied correctly. Contact was out of the crease as Jarry fought to setup his positioning and Henrique buzzed across. The end result is unfortunate, but that can be the sport.
Jarry was officially “under evaluation” per Sullivan’s immediate post-game comments. There’s been no other word, though the team will practice later this afternoon in Los Angeles and more information might be gleamed at that point..
Update: Jarry was not on the ice at practice today.
One big aspect about Ryan Graves fitting in with his new club is his style of play. As we’ve been saying since summer shortly after he signed, despite reputation as a shutdown defender, Graves has been a blueliner unafraid to be active in the offensive zone and release a lot of shots. As you may have noticed, that’s been happening a lot in his first month with the Pens.
I was curious abt this so looked into it— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) November 8, 2023
Who's getting the 5v5 shot attempts when the Pens first line is out with Letang+Graves:
Rust - 27%
Graves - 25%
Guentzel - 20%
Crosby - 15%
Letang - 13%
JFresh also notes that a massive 83% of Graves’ shot attempts with the first line haven’t made it on target. That’s usually not a positive development. Sidney Crosby is a prime player to work the puck low and move it back high to the point, and so far that strategy with Graves hasn’t been a smooth fit.
Not a red flag or huge cause for concern so much as illustrating an interesting point about how styles are meshing, but it will be something to watch for with Graves’ decision making in the offensive zone and if he can increase the effectiveness in that area.
Jeff Carter recently met with the media and was open and gracious about his “current situation” of being a healthy scratch and his effort to maintain a positive effort throughout the process. Carter has been sat for the last two games, and the Penguins have won both of them.
It’s an awkward situation for all involved. Carter is a prideful veteran with 431 career NHL goals and has spent almost half of his lifetime in NHL lineups. He’s no longer at that level, but through the contractual terms of his no trade and no movement clauses, he’s also tied to the NHL roster this season.
Kudos to Carter for not dodging it and seeming to make the best of what could be a bad ending. Given the Pens’ cap situation, any injury to a forward means he’s likely to be back in the playing lineup. Carter’s having to come to terms that his days as a regular are behind him and handling it well.
It will also be interesting to see how the team handles him. Tomorrow’s game in Los Angeles is likely the last time he will have an opportunity to play on the rink where he spent a decade and won a couple of Stanley Cups. Does the team elect to stick with what has been recently working, or look to get Carter back in? Or has that passed and there’s no nod to seeing him at this time?
Update: Carter remains outside the normal practice lines today.
Since it’s never too early to track how the playoff lines are shifting, here is a model’s outlook of how the Penguins have fallen — but stabilized their season over the last two games.
Point projections over the past fortnight. pic.twitter.com/4epHaQZIjO— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) November 8, 2023
At this point, 90 points is where the line to make the playoffs, and this sees the Pens tracking to 86.5. Both of those numbers will shift as to how the season goes for Pittsburgh and the other teams in the East.
A safe way for the Pens would be to track against the Islanders. Finishing ahead of NYI this season will likely mean a playoff spot for Pittsburgh. Ending up below them makes the odds a lot tougher, since they would have to be above every Atlantic Wild Card contender to earn the final playoff spot.
Through 11 games played for both, Pittsburgh is currently three points behind the Isles. (It was five points just 24 hours ago).
Despite the traffic and other teams in the way, the safe bet, as always, is a myopic view. If the Pens can get to 95+ points this season, they will likely be in great shape as far as qualifying for the playoffs go. The fewer points from there, the more doubt will be introduced for their hopes.
With 10 points through 11 games, the Pens need to shoot for at least 85 points in the remaining 72 games.
Finally, as a little palate cleanser, the Philadelphia Flyers everyone!