Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

May 13, 2007

SABRES: NHL on Vanek’s goal: “We don’t judge intent”

WEB EXCLUSIVE

BUFFALO — Was Thomas Vanek’s first-period goal, which was waved off after review, deliberately batted in with a glove? According to Kris King of the NHL, it doesn’t matter.

The puck hit Vanek’s glove as he swung at it after Derek Roy fired a shot that was going just wide.

According to King, the NHL’s director of hockey operations in Toronto, “we looked hard from all the angles to deem that puck was off the glove, and indeed it was as he was shooting and (rule) 67.6 says that you cannot direct the puck into the net with the glove.”

King added that, “we don’t judge intent here. We see how the puck gets in the net with the glove moving forward.”

The goal would have Vanek’s sixth of the playoffs. Vanek scored later in the period to give Buffalo a 1-0 edge.

King also added that a replay gave conclusive evidence.

“We’ve got CBC and Versus and overhead camers and in-net cameras. The result of looking hard at alll replays, one of our replays was a blown-up version that actually really clearly was a blown-up version that actually really clearly showed this puck did indeed hit his glove as he was in the act of shooting, and that was what we finally made our call on.”

•••

The Party in the Plaza continues to grow, and estimates had the crowd at more than 7,000 for Saturday’s outdoor festivities. HSBC Arena will be open for all away playoff games, with the “House Party” free for those attending.

The Sabres do, however, ask that attendees make a donation to the Sabres Foundation. The Party in the Plaza will still precede all games, starting at 5:30 p.m. and featuring live music.

•••

Lindy Ruff’s playoff winning percentage is good, but there’s something missing. Of all the coaches with 40 or more playoff wins, Ruff stands fourth in terms of win percentage at .607. The Sabres are 51-34 in playoff games with Ruff at the helm.

But while Ruff is among the NHL’s elite in terms of percentage, he’s missing the hardware — he’s the only coach in the top 10 to not win a Stanley Cup.

•••

Anton Volchenkov didn’t make much of an impact on the scoresheet, but he was as valuble to Ottawa goalie Ray Emery as any other player. Volchenkov finished with 11 blocked shots in 37:49 of playing time. As a team, Buffalo only blocked 19 shots.

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