When Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw tried to score the overtime game-winner by deliberately heading the puck into the net soccer-style against the Anaheim Ducks, there was a lot of confusion. Most people, including yours truly, weren't entire sure if it was legal to deliberately direct a puck into the net with your head.
We of course know know that it isn't legal. Shaw's goal was disallowed, but judging by his celebration, he thought he had a good goal.
It surely makes sense since the puck cannot be directed into the net with a kicking motion or with an arm or glove, but it’s so rare to see a header that it wasn’t a surprise that so few realized it was illegal. If you were in that camp, then you are not alone.
In fact, many NHL players, past and present, had no idea you couldn’t legally score a goal with a header.
Joffrey Lupul ended a Twitter hiatus of more than a month just to make it known that he had no idea about the rule.
I'm back.... Just to say I had no idea you couldn't score with your head. And I've played 11 years. Still didn't know. Enjoy the game.— Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) May 20, 2015
Former NHLer turned TV analyst Colby Armstrong thinks there’s a pretty large selection of players including himself that were unaware of the rule.
Every hockey player or ex hockey player watched that goal and was like what a goal he headed it in. No clue about this ruling.— Colby Armstrong (@armdog) May 20, 2015
Same with former NHL tough guy Matthew Barnaby.
I can guarantee 99 percent of players don't know that rule! I played 15 yrs and was sure it was a goal— Matthew Barnaby (@MattBarnaby3636) May 20, 2015
Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Steve Sullivan also came up with an interesting question after watching the Shaw play:
Good thing the referees and the NHL’s hockey operations department know the rulebook better than the rest of us, including the guys who play or played the game for a living.