What makes New York Rangers’ winger Chris Kreider a unique player is his combination of size and speed. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 lbs., that same speed also makes him a danger when he comes crashing towards the net.
And, after Sunday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, some are starting to wonder about Kreider’s intentions when he gets close to the crease.
In the contest – a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Oilers – Kreider received a goaltender interference penalty for contact, no matter how incidental, with Edmonton netminder Viktor Fasth:
While it may not seem like much, it’s the third time in 25 games that Kreider has made serious contact with an opposition goaltender. The previous two incidents were with Montreal’s Carey Price and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury and took place in a span of six days.
The video below highlights Kreider’s literal run-ins with these netminders, plus the first of the 23-year-old’s major net-crashing instances, which took place in February 2013 and sidelined Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson for 18 games.
It’s impossible to ever truly establish intent on a play like this. Kreider has a job to do and that’s to get the puck into the net in whatever fashion possible. With the physical attributes he possesses, the obvious method is by driving hard while using his body to shield the puck. It’s a play we see from Kreider and others on a nightly basis.
The results are usually going to be one of two things for a player doing this, which is either a great scoring chance or a near miss with the goaltender. What we’re not seeing with Kreider are the near misses. This makes four instances in little more than two full seasons that Kreider has either crashed into or injured netminders with his drives to the net.
At times goaltender interference calls can be argued – and Kreider’s contact with Fasth may even be one of those calls. What can’t be argued, however, is that there’s starting to be a pattern here. When Kreider has the puck on his stick and goes to the net, he’s making goaltenders pay a certain price.
If this pattern continues, you can be sure that referees are going to start cracking down on the young Rangers winger. And when that comes, if he wants to keep his team at full-strength, he best learn to start avoiding the netminder. Until that time, be on watch, because Kreider’s flying in and he’s not stopping anytime soon.