Should Evgeni Malkin's goal at 18:32 of Thursday's first period have counted, given his foot activity on the puck?
The NHL said yes.
Posted on the NHL's situation room blog shortly after the incident was this explanation: "At 18:32 of the first period in the Jets/Penguins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Pittsburgh forward James Neal's pass deflected off Evgeni Malkin's left skate and into the net. According to Rule 49.2 'A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal.' Good Goal Pittsburgh."
Rule 49.2 also says: "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who kicks a puck that deflects into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official"
And: "A puck that is directed into the net by an attacking player's skate shall be a legitimate goal as long as no distinct kicking motion is evident."
The rule also clarifies that a kicked puck cannot be a goal if it deflects off the body of any player and goes in; but that it is a goal if a kicked puck deflects off the stick of any player, except the goalie, and goes in.
To add further clarity, NHL Rule 38.4 (iv) defines the kicking motion like this: "... is one which, with a pendulum motion, the player propels the puck with his skate into the net. If the Video Goal Judge determines that it was put into the net by an attacking player using a distinct kicking motion, it must be ruled no goal."
Malkin clearly directed the puck twice with his skate -- a legal play -- and there was no obvious pendulum-type motion by his skate or leg on the play. Interestingly, TSN Jets analyst Brian Engblom, the former NHLer, watched the play several times on replay and described Malkin's motion as "sly," during the broadcast.
Friday, Jets coach Claude Noel said there was little point in arguing the matter with referees Marc Joannette or Steve Kozari.
"He didn't say anything," Noel said. "There's really no sense in arguing because the first thing they'll say is 'It's not our call.'
"I don't have a phone there, like Get Smart, get the shoe off -- 'Toronto?'"