On New Year’s Day, San Jose Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen broke his stick behind the net, leading Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Kane to score.
After practice on Tuesday, the goaltender was finally able to tell San Jose Hockey Now what happened.
“The ref came out and told me that I could’ve played with that stick,” Kahkonen told SJHN. “I didn’t know that rule. I thought anytime somebody has a broken stick [he] has to throw it and or drop it.”
Rule 10.4 in the NHL rule book states: “A goalkeeper may continue to play with a broken stick until a stoppage of play or until he has one legally provided to him by a teammate. The teammate cannot throw or shoot it to the goalkeeper (this includes situations where the goalkeeper has lost his stick and a teammate is trying to return it to him). For a violation of this rule, a minor penalty for throwing the stick shall be assessed to the offending player (no penalty to the goalkeeper for receiving the stick).”
The San Jose Sharks netminder wasn’t alone in his lack of awareness of this rule, as former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna tweeted that he taught fellow goaltender Reto Berra the very same rule whilst in the AHL.
A goalie is allowed to play with a broken stick. Guessing Kahkonen didn't know the rule.
I remember teaching that one to Reto Berra after something similar happened when we were in Springfield (AHL). He had no idea. https://t.co/d4NMjqgB2T
— Mike McKenna (@MikeMcKenna56) January 2, 2023
Kahkonen did have an explanation for why he felt dropping the broken stick was still the best course of action.
“It didn’t really make sense for me to try to hold on to it because it broke between where I was holding it,” Kahkonen explained. “So then I have two pieces. I only have the knob of my stick in one hand and then the paddle in the other hand. Like which one do I get rid of?”
Kahkonen’s explanation makes sense because if he can’t grip the stick properly, why attempt to play with it? The Finn must’ve felt more comfortable without a stick than attempting to figure out how to play with a broken stick right where he holds it.
“I’ve never broken a stick like that in the middle of a game, and I haven’t seen the replay of that [yet],” Kahkonen said on Tuesday. “I’ll watch that, but I don’t really know how it broke. I thought I was just passing the puck or trying to make a play, and it just blew up right in my hand.”
The San Jose Sharks picked up their goaltender with a 5-2 win to start 2023 with Kahkonen earning his fourth win of the season.
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