Penalty by Chris Pronger helps Calgary top Flyers

The Flyers' Chris Pronger argues with referee Ghislain Hebert after the official used the Sean Avery Rule to disallow a goal in overtime. "I wasn't turned . . . waving in his face," Pronger said.
The Flyers' Chris Pronger argues with referee Ghislain Hebert after the official used the Sean Avery Rule to disallow a goal in overtime. "I wasn't turned . . . waving in his face," Pronger said.
Posted: November 27, 2010

Late in overtime Friday afternoon, Chris Pronger waved his left arm in front of Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff for a split second while the Flyers were on a four-on-three power play.

Was Pronger waving for teammate Mike Richards to shoot the puck or move closer to the net?

Or was he trying to distract the veteran goalie?

Ghislain Hebert, in his first full season as an NHL referee, believed the latter. As a result, Richards' goal was disallowed and the game went to a shoot-out, in which Calgary prevailed to gain a controversial, 3-2 win in a Black Friday special at the Wells Fargo Center.

Replays showed Pronger with his left arm raised and quickly brought down - and no penalty called until three seconds later, after Richards' shot had gone past Kiprusoff. When Richards took his shot, Pronger's stick was down, with both hands clutching it.

"I wasn't turned around at him [or] waving in his face," said Pronger, who had his back to the goalie during the play.

The refs told Flyers coach Peter Laviolette that Pronger had deliberately tried to distract Kiprusoff.

After the game, the refs refused to talk to the media.

Relayed that information, Pronger had an explanation: "Because they know they screwed up, that's why."

"It's infuriating that it should have been two points instead of one," Pronger said.

Earlier, Pronger tried to deflect questions about him and the referees.

"I'm not going to get into a he said/she said with the refs," Pronger said.

He grinned.

"And I'm the he."

Richards also disagreed with the call made by Hebert, who had refereed 11 NHL games before this season.

"Prongs is facing me; it's tough to call that, especially on the power play when you have people moving in and out," he said. "But what's done is done. We probably didn't play well enough to win that hockey game. We were hanging around and didn't do a lot of great things."

Richards said he thought Pronger was calling for the puck with his wave.

"He made this motion like he was by himself, which he was," Richards said. "I tried to float it in there, and [Kiprusoff] missed it, and it went in."

Kiprusoff, naturally, agreed with Hebert's decision to negate Richards' goal - shot from above the right circle - and penalize Pronger.

"Maybe the call was a little late, but I know the referee saw it, so it was a good call," Kiprusoff said.

Pronger was given an unsporstmanlike-conduct penalty, ruining the Flyers' power play with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in overtime.

In hockey circles, the infraction is known as the Sean Avery Rule. The Rangers' Avery waved his hands and stick in front of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur in the 2008 playoffs, causing the rule to be added. Unlike Pronger, Avery was facing the goalie as he waved in front of Brodeur's face.

In Friday's game, Rene Bourque scored the winner in the shoot-out, firing a shot off Sergei Bobrovsky's blocker and into the net.

"I was surprised it went in," Bobrovsky said.

Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers in the shoot-out; Danny Briere and Richards did not.

The Flyers were outhit, 29-18, as Calgary played a strong road game.

"We didn't play our best," Richards said. "Our power play didn't generate enough offense, and we didn't skate well enough to win."

The Flyers, who received goals from Nik Zherdev and James van Riemsdyk, were 0 for 6 on the power play, and they are 1 for their last 32 entering Saturday's matinee in New Jersey.

"Sometimes it comes in stretches," van Riemsdyk said of the power play. "We've just got to keep it simple, getting pucks to the net, getting guys in front, and we'll start having more success."

Despite the loss, the Flyers have points in four straight games and are on a 12-2-2 run.


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.

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