Pulling the goalie in the second period? Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has considered it
PHILADELPHIA – When the NHL announced Saturday afternoon that the Stadium Series game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers would be played as scheduled, the press release contained a long list of contingencies.
The one with the greatest potential impact on the outcome of the game was straight out of baseball’s rulebook. If the game were to be rained out, the result would be official if two periods had been completed.
This created an obvious conundrum for the coaches.
“You’re not really given the opportunity, and this is for either team, if it’s a close game, to be able to pull your goalie to tie it up. That’s kind of a unique situation, but that’s the cards we’re dealt with,” Philadelphia’s Scott Gordon said.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he and his coaching staff had discussed whether they would pull their goalie if they trailed late in the second period and the rain was coming down hard.
“We’ve talked about that, but we’re not sure we’re going to know they’re going to call the game at that particular point,” Sullivan said. “If we know and if we have that information and they are going to call the game after two periods and that would constitute a game, then we would consider it for sure.”
A game deemed official after two periods is certainly a rarity in hockey, but Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese had played in one before.
When he was a senior at Northeastern, a Zamboni broke down and damaged the ice surface to the point where a game against Notre Dame couldn’t continue. It was ruled a 0-0 tie.
“It ended up kind of screwing up Notre Dame’s season,” Aston-Reese said. “They probably would have beat us and won the Hockey East title.”
While coaches were preparing for the various contingencies, Aston-Reese said it’s best for players not to worry much about them.
“You can’t have that kind of weighing on your head,” Aston-Reese said. “You have to expect the game to be played at the regular time and to finish out.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .