Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist remains out of the lineup with a neck injury, telling reporters on Monday that he’s hoping he can return by the weekend. He suffered the injury in a collision with teammate Ryan McDonagh during a game against the Penguins last week.
But while the collision caused the injury, what happened next grabbed the headlines. Frustrated at the lack of a whistle, Lundqvist took matters into his own hands by flipping the net to cause a stoppage.
It was a controversial move, one that fellow goalie Marc-Andre Fleury referred to as “baby stuff”. And while Lundqvist is standing by his actions, we’d bet that deep down he’s probably second-guessing himself, wondering if there wasn’t a more productive way to get the official’s attention.
Luckily, we’re here to help. There’s a long history of goaltenders trying to get their point across to the men in stripes. Some of the methods have worked, and others have been less successful. But it’s important for Lundqvist and his brethren to know that they always have options. Here are five other ways they could get a referee’s attention.
Wailing away on the goal posts
If we’re being honest, Lundqvist’s net got off easy last week. It just got shoved over. The traditional angry goaltender move is to hack it death with your goal stick.
This move is such a classic that there’s no shortage of examples to pick from. Mike Smith is probably the modern day master, and Patrick Roy could do a number. But with all due respect to those guys, nobody ever did it better than Ed Belfour.
That goal knocked the Blackhawks out of the 1993 playoffs, completing a shocking sweep at the hands of the underdog Blues. Belfour didn’t appreciate being bumped on his way back to the crease, and he let referee Rob Shick know about it.
After destroying his stick and tossing it in Shick’s direction, Belfour then reportedly “destroyed everything in his path on the way to the dressing room”, including an unfortunate coffee maker. According to this article, the meltdown left behind a “mangled fan sticking out of the top of a garbage can.” I assume that meant a cooling device and not an actual spectator at the game, although with Belfour you could never quite be sure.
Shooting the puck at the referee
Ask any Maple Leafs fan about the Martin Gerber era, and you’ll probably get an exasperated diatribe about Brian Burke’s refusal to tank the 2008-09 season. Press them for any memories of Gerber actually doing anything on the ice, and this is probably the only one they can come up with.
Unhappy at the lack of a whistle during a scramble that led to a goal by then Capital (and new Leaf) Brooks Laich, Gerber got up and chased down referee Mike Leggo. When that didn’t work, Gerber eventually returned to his crease, retrieved the puck, and fired it in the official’s direction. That earned him a three-game suspension.
Luckily, Gerber was relieved by Curtis Joseph, a cool-headed veteran who would never let his temper get the best of him.
The old “accidental” open field tackle
Furious over taking contact moments before allowing the game-winning goal during a 2000 playoff loss in Ottawa, Joseph launched into an epic meltdown directed at referee Mick McGeough. After tossing both gloves in McGeough’s direction, Joseph apparently decided it would be a good time to demonstrate his latest breakdancing moves, sliding into the referee’s legs and wiping him out in the corner.
Joseph earned a misconduct for the play, but wasn’t suspended, a fact that still infuriates any Senators fan you mention it to. Too bad, guys. Consider it retroactive payback for giving us Martin Gerber.
The full-fledged meltdown
You could also call it the temper tantrum. Or an outburst. Or “that guy seems to have lost his mind, we should probably gather the children and run away now”.
Ah hell, let’s just call it what it is: The Tuukka Rask.
And yes, that clip is technically from an AHL game. But in case you were worried that Rask had mellowed out once he reached the big leagues, let’s remember this. And also this. Even playing a position that’s known for its meltdowns, Rask stands out for his commitment to the craft.
Chuck your blocker at an opponent’s head
You knew we weren’t going to make it to the end of a “crazy goaltenders” post without Dominik Hasek showing up. Late in the third period of game two of the 1998 Eastern Conference final between the Capitals and Sabres, Hasek collided with Peter Bondra in the corner. Some saw a dive, but Hasek wanted a penalty called, and he didn’t get it from referee Kerry Fraser.
So he did what any reasonable person would do in that situation: he whipped his blocker at Bondra’s head.
As Fraser explains at the 1:45 mark of the clip, he thought Hasek went for “the deep six.” The Sabres star denied that, and awarded himself some post-game credit for resisting the urge to fling the blocker at Fraser instead. Here’s hoping he eventually found it in himself to forgive and forget, since I’m told there’s nothing sadder than someone who can’t get over one missed Kerry Fraser call from decades ago.
As for Hasek, he learned his lesson, and never threw his blocker at anyone ever again and oh who are we kidding.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.