Heard the One About Chris Kreider Skating into a Goalie?

As cool as “Crash” would look as a nickname on New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider specifically (seriously, sound it out), someone should probably let him know it wouldn’t be at all complimentary.

Maybe suggesting Kreider can’t understand the implications of a simple nickname is not giving him enough credit intellectually speaking. However, what else are you to think of a player that continually skates into opposing goaltenders without considering the consequences of his actions?

 

Chris Kreider Can’t Stop… Literally

Indeed, Montreal Canadiens fans know all too well what’s going on in the minds of New York Islanders fans after last night. Eight months and change after Kreider skated into goalie Carey Price in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, he did it again to Jaroslav Halak.

 

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As far as coincidences go, this is a pretty big one, and not just because the Canadiens will face Kreider and the Rangers in New York on Thursday (7 pm Eastern Time). Neither is it because Halak used to back up Price (or the other way around, if you want to get technical and if “technical” is another word for “accurate”).

No, it’s a coincidence, because this isn’t just the second time Kreider has pulled something similar. He’s done it before.

 

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There’s a saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. To argue that every single time Kreider skates into a goalie it’s an accident is lending credence to the above expression twice over. This is a 23-year-old hockey player who has already skated into a handful of goalies. Sure, he’s a fast skater, but so are a lot of other players, and I’m pretty sure learning to brake is something they teach in atom.

Really, the only other alternative to him purposely skating into goalies all these times is he’s got a thing for them and can’t come up with a good pick-up line.

 

“Batting” .500

If we’re talking success rates here, Kreider is actually batting .500, which is pretty good. For example, he only got penalized for goaltender interference two of the four times documented above, against Pittsburgh Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury on May 11 of last year, and yesterday night against Halak.

Coincidentally, the Rangers are also .500 in each of those games, going 2-2, with New York beating both the Habs and Penguins in the two pivotal playoff games last spring Kreider had his run-ins with Price and Fleury.

More significantly, from the opposition’s point of view perhaps, he’s also batting .500 another way: Injuring both Anderson and Price upon colliding with them. Anderson missed 18 games during a lockout-shortened season. Price missed the rest of the third round last spring, with the Rangers beating the Habs in six games.

One can definitely make an argument that the Price injury was not the reason the Habs lost against New York. Back-up Dustin Tokarski actually played quite admirably in relief, posting a respectable .916 save percentage over the remaining five games of the series. And there’s little denying the Habs were worn out after an emotionally and physically draining second-round series against the Boston Bruins.

However, one need only look to Montreal’s listless play against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, when the Habs got outshot 42-26 but still won 3-2, as proof that Price has evolved into a game-breaking talent over the last few seasons. So, while the Price injury was not the main reason Montreal lost, it certainly was at least a reason.

 

Canadiens vs. Rangers

Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski
Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski – (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Tomorrow night will mark the third meeting of the season between the two teams, with the 30-13-3 Habs visiting the 27-14-4 Rangers. Both teams are third in their respective divisions and essentially own identical 7-3 records over their last 10 games (one of the Habs’ three losses came in overtime). The Habs are meanwhile riding a three-game winning streak, while the Rangers have cooled off somewhat following a recent 13-1 stretch. They lost to the Islanders 4-1 on Tuesday.

Montreal already got a measure of revenge for the Price injury with a 3-1 victory in the first match-up in October (New York won 5-0 in Game 2 in November). So, that’s no longer an issue. In a way, neither will Kreider likely be.

I mean, you’d think he’d at least know enough not to doing anything stupid so soon after skating into Halak. He doesn’t want to ruin whatever may be left of his reputation, even if not from an integrity standpoint, but purely so as not to get penalized whenever he so much as looks at a goalie the wrong way from here on out.

Then again, assuming these incidents aren’t just an unfortunate collection of coincidences, what does he have to lose by doing it again? The irreparable damage is already done. That also applies to Montreal’s playoff run last spring.

45 thoughts on “Heard the One About Chris Kreider Skating into a Goalie?”

  1. I have been playing defence for over 50 years and when an opposing forward came near or God help him hit my goalie he had to be ready and willing to pay a price. Not one defender went after Krieder after hitting their goalies….strange eh? Do a cheap shot on Sid the Kid and watch out… not even cheap shots…hit someone with a clean hard check and the muscle comes after you. Players still set the play and the tone…….. He skates hard and fast. That is his style of play. There are guys in the HHF who are dirty players and are considered the “Greats of the Game”. He now has a reputation that he has to play with…….thanks to poor referring, poor reporting and sensationalism…oh and sour grapes……they make bad whine Michel Therrien (sorry for the pun, I just could not resist this one).

  2. OMG – please stop crying about the Kreider – Price issue. Between this, the goon play by Prust, and the diving that took place last year, hockey fans around the league have basically lost a lot of respect for your team. Those are all facts. The play should have been a penalty shot – had the refs called it right this “debate” would never had happened. They got it wrong, the Montreal media got it wrong. Just accept it and move on.

    • I’d personally love to move on. If only Kreider would let us. This post wasn’t about the Price incident. It was about the Anderson incident, the Fleury incident, and the Halak incident as well. No one is crying here. In fact, the headline was a reference to a guy walking into a bar joke. It’s all in good fun that Kreider can’t stop skating into goalies. It’s a real problem he should look into.

      • that doesnt even make sense. the anderson play he had his legs taken out by the defenseman. the one against halak he got pushed by the islanders guy. and versus montreal he got tripped. so really he’s only actually skated into one goalie on his own. don’t be so biased and complaining still because he beat the habs last year.

        • In regard to the Ottawa incident, I’m inclined to agree that, yes, he was tripped and there was little he could to avoid Anderson. However, he was also going pretty fast up until that point, so I’m not exactly sure what he was thinking was going to happen had he not been tripped.

          As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t actually believe Emelin’s stick was enough to trip him against Montreal. I can’t prove that, and I have to admit that the theory that it was is just as valid.

          Meanwhile, I think in the New York Islanders game, Hamonic was actually trying guide him away from Halak and slow him down, yet it wasn’t enough.

          I don’t believe myself to be biased as I can honestly say Kreider didn’t cost Montreal the series by skating into Price. The Habs lost it fair and square. That being said, I don’t think Kreider is as innocent as you make him out to be.

  3. When someone “accidentally” runs into Hank and takes him out for 18 games, Im sure Kreider will learn to work harder on avoiding contact with a goalie

  4. So how many times has he skated hard and fast to the net and not taken out the goalie? Never? Having watched all of these incidents in slow motion many times, to my untrained eye it looks as though in only one was his speed getting away from him and for that I fault him. Of course pitches never get away from pitchers but every ball thrown is intentional. But I didn’t view all of the other times he charged toward the net and skated out of the crease. That doesn’t sell page clicks.

    • I can appreciate the point. It’s actually a good one in my opinion. However, as I argued in the piece, I don’t think anyone’s so stupid as to run the goalie at each and every opportunity they get. Even the most vicious of predators picks his spots. Do I think Kreider is a predator? Not necessarily, but I do believe he has the mindset that if he gets nudged when going towards the net he has the green light to skate into the goalie as long as he can make it look accidental.

  5. Chris Kreider will get his, he should learn to brake instead of trying to injure goalies. Mark my words, Kreider will get his.

  6. Any player who goes hard to the net ends up with goaltender contact. Often times a defensmen rides the opposing player into the goaltender or trips up their feet resulting in the opposing player coming in full boar and now totally off balance but still with the desire and need to get a quality scoring chance.

    I truly believe Krieder could have done more to avoid contact in the pitt game and that a penalty was warranted. However in both the montreal and ottowa games he was tripped up by a defender. Its easy to say do more to avoid the goaltender when your not the ones with the skates on.

    With that said I don’t want to see any player get injured, let alone a goalie.

    • Thanks for the well-though out comment. I agree that in the Ottawa game, there was little he could do once he got tripped. I also believe he was going way too fast toward the net and that there would have been little he could have done to stop in time had he not been tripped. In the Montreal game, looking at the video, I’m not so sure he didn’t skate into Price on purpose. Sure, Emelin’s stick was in the general vicinity, but I don’t think that “interference” would have been enough to cause him to barrel into the goalie uncontrollably. Just my personal opinion.

  7. Guys drive to the net trying to score all game like this. If you don’t want the goalie to get touched then tell the defenseman to just allow Kreider to go past with any contact. He tried putting the breaks on or he could have really leveled Halak there if that was his intention. Same thing with Price last year. The defenseman took out Kreiders skate and balance so he couldn’t stop. That’s hockey.

    • In regard to the Halak incident, from what I saw Hamonic was trying to slow him down and guide him away from the goalie. In regard to Price, from what I saw in the video, Emelin’s stick shouldn’t have been enough to cause him to barrel into Price like that. Just my personal opinion.

  8. Just a thought, but if it were like the old days where if you touched a goalie you would have 5 guys jumping on you, I don’t think this would happen as much. In multiple examples of Kreider making contact with the goalie nothing happens to him. If he had to fight someone immediately after contacting a goalie I’m pretty sure he would make an effort to avoid them in the future. But he knows no one is coming after him, there is no punishment besides maybe a 2 minute penalty. I’d gladly take a 2 minute penalty to get a top goalie off his game.

    Make him physically pay for it like it was done in the past and it won’t happen.

  9. Ryan, if you going to write an ‘objective’ article you should at least state you possible bias. Not mentioning that Montreal is your hometown and you’re a current ‘beat’ writer for the Habs is irresponsible journalism. So now I’m wondering if this article would have been written if Kreider had a CH on the front of his sweater.

    • I can assure you, as a journalism graduate and someone who’s title as “THW Montreal Canadiens Contributor” is posted at the bottom of page and someone who posted this purely to the Montreal Canadiens page on this site (that it made it onto the front page is not my call), me not writing that I am from Montreal is inconsequential. The mini game preview at the bottom of the piece makes it clear as day that I am a Habs contributor. As for whether or not this piece would have been written if Kreider were a Hab, I’d like to think that it would be, only with a much different tone. I’d probably be arguing that yes, Kreider skates into goalies, but so do a lot of players (albeit with not as much frequency).

  10. FWIW Marc Methot said after the Ottawa game that he tripped Kreider into his own goalie.

    As for the Kreider-Fleury collision a review of the tape shows a couple things that 1. Kreider having got past Letang–Letang then crosschecks him as he’s nearing the goalie. 2. that despite the crosscheck from behind the puck never leaves Kreider’s stick throughout the play until he shoots it a split second before he’s driven into Fleury. Truthfully I think the goal should have counted (as Kreider’s focus seemed to be only to shoot and score–that’s a hockey play) or at least that Letang should have got the penalty. The question here in any case is did the referee make the right call? The penalty on Kreider changes the entire narrative of the play for at least some people. They just see–oh, he got penalized for it blah, blah, blah

    Which brings us to the Price collision. He busted through your defense–had a clear avenue to the goal–he is impeded by both Dale Weise but especially Alexei Emelin’s stick which torques around his lower leg/ankle as he’s bursting by him. As he’s going down (just before he slides into Price) he shoots the puck high and wide which–I don’t know what do you think?–he’s trying to get a shot off I would say–I mean we all heard the intentionally on purpose trying to injure Price shit that Therrien kept changing his mind on until he finally came to that conclusion. Maybe you should look at it again and ask yourself what you’d expect from Max Pacioretty if the same kind of situation occurred? Not to skate so fast?–or having a direct avenue to the net to angle off to one side or the other?–not to get tripped, hacked and whacked by the guys chasing him? To suggest as Therrien did that it was on purpose was just whacky yet tons of people want to believe it. Go figure.

    I agree that these were not accidents. The problem with stories like this though is you want to control the narrative of the events in question and do not seem particularly interested in looking at the tape from the perspective of why exactly Kreider collided with this or that goalie–the only thing you seem to give a rat’s ass about is that he did. As well there are Methot’s comments regarding the Ottawa incident. Nothing about that either. To me it’s a whatever and frankly I think it’s biased.

    So the other night against the Islanders–I agree that was goaltender interference without a doubt. IMO he did put on the brakes–too late–but he slowed himself down enough that fortunately Halak wasn’t completely bowled over.

    • Thanks for the comment and the candid response to the piece. I actually very much appreciate it, especially you admitting that you thought the Halak incident was clear-cut goaltender interference. Regarding the Anderson one, I actually stated in a response to a comment below that I agree there was little he could do and that one wasn’t his fault entirely. I do believe however that he was going really fast toward the goalie and even if he hadn’t have been tripped he would have had a hard time stopping in time. If nothing else, the other three incidents prove he needs to be careful in that regard and he’s in a sense a menace that needs to learn that there are other people on the ice.

  11. You would think the NHL would address this at some point. His reputation is proceeding him. If I played and he did that to my goalie, I wouldn’t think twice about running Henrik. I would suggest that the NHL get out in front of this problem. Rangers fan would hate it if it happened to Lundquist. These peoples excuses much like some of the pundits excuses is comical.

  12. It’s simple physics, really. You don’t want to attribute this to speed and size, but it’s exactly that. Kreider is too fast and carries too much mass to be clipped in the back of the leg, or shoved and not go down when he’s at high speed. Having played hockey for 25 of my 31 years, I know that the faster I go, the more susceptible I am to losing my feet when taking contact.

    I’m not blaming these collisions on the other teams, but a defensemen should recognize what’s going to happen when Kreider gets by him and he makes contact with him from behind when he’s 10 feet from his own goalie. It’s likely going to end poorly. You seem to ignore that.

    • If I ignored it, it’s because I believe any hockey player is capable of causing damage barreling towards a goalie if he wants to, regardless of his size. I don’t believe Kreider should get a free pass just because he’s fast and big. There are plenty of fast power forwards out there who don’t skate into goalies regularly.

  13. “not sure how it pertains to the above”? It’s an article on Kreider and crashing into goalies because of his speed and size. The fact that he consistently beats d-men to the outside, they can’t catch him so they push him or insert a stick into his skates a s a last ditch effort to save their butt and “Crash” ends up going into the goalie as result, maybe that’s how it relates. Not saying Kreider is an angel, but definitely not malicious or intentional. You or anybody else would love him on your team.

    • I was saying that I’m not sure I agree with your assessment, not that it wasn’t relevant. Glad to see the nickname is catching on : ). And, yes, I would have loved it had Montreal drafted Kreider instead of Louis Leblanc.

  14. LOL. Is this a joke? What do you have against him. Did He sleep with your GF in H.S.? Or is it just the Rangers you hate? This reads as though you made an OPINION, then tweaked the facts to back your opinion. You need to learn something called objectivity. OOOHHHHH, ok I looked by your name”THW Montreal Canadiens Contributor “, now I understand. HOMER. What a joke this article is.The best is you bickered like a 12 year old when someones OPINION differed from yours. Thank you for the video proving he was tripped. And clearly the play lastnight was the defencemens fault, you got to give him some where to go.Neither play should have been a penalty. Did the league go after him in anyway. No. Wait, is it a conspiracy against the Chokers/Canadians. Is your next article going to be about chem trails.

    • Yes, it is meant to be taken lightly. Yes, I am objective, openly admitting the Price injury was not necessarily the reason Montreal lost to New York in the playoffs. Yes, the video shows that Emelin’s stick came out. No, in my opinion, it does not show Emelin actually tripping Kreider. But, again, objectively speaking, I can’t say that he didn’t beyond a shadow of a doubt. I just think that four times is an awfully big coincidence.

      And, for the record, it’s Canadiens, with an ‘e,’ not an ‘a.’

    • I only avoided it, because had I gone into I would have gone into it for each and every incident (and there are a lot). I think the fact that there are four separate occasions at least should be considered exhibits A through D in the case proving his guilt on the matter. One time is an accident, twice maybe a coincidence. Three? Four Times? Something’s up. Regarding the Price incident specifically, I’m not too sure it was an accident. From what I saw, Emelin’s stick shouldn’t have been enough to cause him to barrel into the goalie like that.

  15. Ever lace ’em up and actually play at a high level? Doubt it. You might understand at such a high speed even the littlest nudge or stick in the legs/feet from a beat defender out of position is going to have a great effect on one’s ability to stop or even try to turn or avoid collision with anyone. Same as the hit on Soderberg…again, Kreider, or anyone, knowingly on your bank at a high pace heading to the back boards isn’t a good place to slam on the breaks 5 feet from the boards. Instead of a straight on approach with a full short stop, And yes, I have played at a high level, college, and have been a fan and involved in the game for 40+ years.

    • Thanks for the insight and the comment. Not sure I agree as it pertains to the above-mentioned incidents, but it is appreciated nonetheless.

  16. Ryan, you are a homer who can’t see beyond his beloved Habs sweater. The notion that Kreider was not “really” tripped into Price and that he used it as an “opportunity” to run into Price skates first is complete nonsense.
    I suppose sitting at a desk and a computer, never having played a meaningful game of hockey in your life gives you an “expert” opinion. Too bad this article was not on newsprint…I need some to put down for my puppy to poop on.

    • I don’t really consider myself a homer seeing as I can objectively say things like: “One can definitely make an argument that the Price injury was not the reason the Habs lost against New York. Back-up Dustin Tokarski actually played quite admirably in relief, posting a respectable .916 save percentage over the remaining five games of the series. And there’s little denying the Habs were worn out after an emotionally and physically draining second-round series against the Boston Bruins.”

      But, just like me, you’re entitled to your opinion. Thanks for reading. For the record, you can always print it out and then put it down for your puppy.

  17. “that makes him something” – yeah he’s a hockey player – they move fast… well a lot of them at least. D-men also know players are driving fast to the net and like to try and stop them from getting there. Other d-men like to nudge players into their own goalie (stupidly risking injuring their own net minder) in order to draw the interference call. It goes both ways. A d-man should know that if a beast on skates is driving to the net and you nudge him chances are he will probably go down.

    • I agree. Kreider is a hockey player. He’s also very fast. He also knows how to use his speed to his advantage. And d-men nudging players driving to the net into their own goalies is stupid considering the risks. I don’t think each of those four defensemen were stupid, though.

  18. Yet, here you are with nothing to say when Gallagher crashes the net almost every night. Every single time Kreider has “crashed the net” his legs have been taken out from under him by the opposing team. Kreider’s style of play is simple: fast and strong. He’s going to beat you with his speed and be a constant presence in front of the net, one that will be difficult to move. Speed kills, and it will kill just as much when you take out the legs of a 6’3 230lb. power forward going at 30 mph towards the net. Shame on the defenders that have been “fooled twice” into taking out his legs again.

    • I didn’t know this was a story about Brendan Gallagher. My mistake. But, now that we’re on the subject of him, you’re right. Gallagher plays dirty. Of course, he doesn’t leave a trail of goaltender bodies in his wake, nor does he drive to the net with reckless abandon all the time. His dirtiness is such that he takes an extra swipe at the puck with his stick once its been covered up or purposely grazes the goalie while screening him. It’s kinda different. I also don’t buy this about it being about size. These players are all relatively fast and if someone, anyone, including Gallagher, really wants to, they can do serious damage barreling towards the net.

      One thing that is similar between the two players though is how Gallagher has earned a reputation as being dirty around the league among referees (and, yes, players), and he’s paying for it by not getting the benefit of the call. I strongly suspect that’s what happening with Kreider now, and, in my opinion anyway, it’s well deserved (in both cases).

      Regarding the individual instances, I will partly give you the Anderson one. It truly looked to me as though Kreider couldn’t avoid hitting him. Of course, with him going as fast toward the goalie as he was, I really don’t know what Kreider was thinking would happen had Methot not tripped him up. In any case, the Fleury one is clearly goaltender interference in my opinion. Looking at the slowed-down version of the Price one (see other comment), I also believe Emelin’s stick didn’t really trip him up and that Kreider saw it as an opportunity to go skate-first into Price.

      Finally, I don’t know how you can possibly say Hamonic took out Kreider’s legs on the Halak one. If anything, Hamonic was slowing him down, trying to guide him away from Halak (and Kreider still managed to violently crash into the goalie).

      • Sorry Ryan but…

        No team gets more favorable officiating in the NHL than your beloved Canadiens. Probably because so many of them hail from the area in and around Montreal (Dave Jackson from Montreal and Marc Joannette from Verdun just to name two regulars who officiate for their hometown Canadiens). I would challenge you to do some research on what the Habs record is when either of those two “home boys” officiates their games.

        • Thanks for the invite, however I think I’ll reserve that specific research for when it actually is relevant. I don’t think that theory is here. We’re talking about Chris Kreider and his tendency to skate into goalies, not refereeing. Although, if you’re interested, the Habs have the fourth-least amount of time on the power play this year. They are also decidedly average when it comes to penalty kill time (18th in the league). Is that a result of referees getting fed up with the Habs’ alleged diving? Who knows. Like I said, a story for another day.

  19. You’re conveniently ignoring that Kreider was tripped by Alexei Emelin when he collided with Price last year. Montreal media went nuts and blew it out of proportion. Michel Therrien’s change in stance from “it was an accident” to “I don’t think it was intentional but he could have tried harder to avoid him” to “It was reckless” was pretty telling as well.

    I will say that Kreider does seem to have an issue with not truly understanding how fast and strong he is. He needs to harness those gifts and control them, but to even begin to suggest that he has malicious intentions is quite ignorant.

    Obviously Kreider still has to find that balance. After he got ejected for a boarding penalty on Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin earlier in the year, he went through a long stretch where he was playing very tentatively and was ineffective as a result. It’s no coincidence that he has started to put up more points now that he is playing more aggressively.

    • In regard to the Price one specifically, looking at it slowed down (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVB1hKx8ehA), I’m not sure I agree that it was unintentional. Of course, do I know for sure that he did it on purpose? No. I think any one of those four incidents can be considered an accident taken individually. Taken collectively as a whole, that argument doesn’t really hold much water. There is a pattern that has long since developed here.

      You can argue that Kreider isn’t a malicious player. I will argue that he’s trying to win at whatever the cost. It’s a very thin line between the two. Some would say the latter quality is one to be revered in professional sports. How many legends out there played dirty to win with history looking back on them fondly? Messier most certainly was one of those.

      You can say that Kreider does not understand how fast and strong he is, but he’s been a pro now for some time and these incidents keep piling up (including a recent hit on Carl Soderberg). If he hasn’t learned by now, I don’t think he ever will. Malicious or not, that makes him something.

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