Daily Herald
Bowman sees more net crashing than years ago
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 4/19/2009 12:05 AM

As the greatest coach in NHL history, you could say Scotty Bowman knows a thing or two about hockey.

So when the Blackhawks' senior advisor is asked about Martin Havlat's overtime goal in Game 1 behing allowed to stand despite Andrew Ladd getting tangled up with Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff in the crease, Bowman said that's the call you can expect from the officials when a defenseman causes the interference.

Replays showed Calgary defenseman Jordan Leopold bumping Ladd into the crease. The Flames claimed Ladd never tried to stop.

"They won't call that unless it comes from way out and the guy has four or five feet and keeps going and then tumbles in and knocks the goalie down," Bowman said.

Bowman says players go to the net more now than they did years ago, which has prompted the league to adopt rules protecting goalies.

"How this started is the nets used to not dislodge easily and there was a bad accident with Mark Howe playing in Hartford," Bowman said. "They decided to make the nets flexible and now they go off easier than they did before. There's no question players go to the net much more often than they used to."

It was Bowman, while coaching in Detroit, who made Red Wings left wing Tomas Holmstrom the best in the game at screening goalies and causing havoc in front of the net.

"That's why Holmstrom is so effective - he stands outside the line," Bowman said. "When I was in Detroit we had a lot of goals called back and I would say to him, 'You can't make it close (for the referees). Don't make it close.'

"I'd say, 'If that's the line, Tomas, you do a better job when you're out a foot. You block his view more and the goalie can't look around you.' We were tough on him because when he first started he would tumble into the goalie."

Bowman thought Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin would do a good job handling any crease pressure from Calgary because he doesn't come outside the blue paint.

"There are some goalies that come out a lot, but the further you're out you can't expect to have protection," Bowman said. "Nik is not far from the goalline."

Bowman says whatever rules the NHL has on place now for protecting goalies are far better than it was when it was automatically no goal if a player had as much as the tip of his skate in the crease.

"When you look at the way they used to have it if your foot was in the crease, that was probably the worst rule they ever had," Bowman said.