Thomas/By S. Bradley

Using the spin-0-rama for shootouts and penalty shots is in the NHL rule book as legal.

It has become a more common sight of late during the post-overtime spectacle, but that doesn’t mean goalies have to like it.

Heck, AOL Fanhouse columnist Christopher Botta went as far last week as to say that one night soon a goaltender is going to detect an incoming spin-o-rama and invoke some sort of Wild West justice by plowing out of the crease and making contact on the shooter.

In Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, the Bruins not only have two of the best goaltenders in the league, they also have two of the more high-strung netminders around. Just last night in Carolina, Thomas picked up a roughing call for taking a post-whistle swipe at Hurricanes forward Zach Boychuk. And who could forget Rask’s massive meltdown after a controversial goal call in a shootout a couple years ago while with the Providence (AHL) farm club.

Both Boston puck-stoppers — possibly trying to prove their machismo and make opposing shooters think twice about hot dogging it against the Bruins in a shootouts — left open the possibility, in chats with last week, of contact between goaltender and shooter if it came to that.

“I could if the guy’s looking at the puck. You might as well challenge him and hit him. Why not?” said Rask.

“You don’t know if he’s going to do it or not. If he doesn’t do it, you’re just going to miss and look like an idiot,” said Thomas about challenging a potential spin-o-rama. “Because believe me, it’s crossed my mind. Not that I’ve had anybody really do it to me, or not that often. But I remember [Nikolai] Khabibulin’s reaction a couple years ago and that young goalie with the Islanders [Kevin Poulin last week], he wasn’t too happy. I wouldn’t have been too happy either. As long as … there’s ways to do it legally. Like Grabovski’s, that’s perfectly legal. I’ve seen Martin St. Louis do a spin-o-rama, which is OK, as long as you keep a little bit of forward motion.”

Here’s a look at that old Khabibulin reaction:

And here’s the Grabovski move:

As he has become more established as an NHL star, Thomas has become more vocal about his opinions on rules changes and equipment specifications. The spin-o-rama is rule he would like to see clarified better.

“You could do the spin-o-rama, and some people have done it, but you have to keep at least some momentum going forward. But the lines have blurred there,” said Thomas. “They just want the pretty shootout goals, so it’s another case where the league’s decided to change the rules in advantage of the forwards over the goalies.”

One rule that goes without question is that if a goaltender makes a run at a shooter, he’s probably going to cost his team a goal and himself some cash. That’s a point made by Botta in his Fanhouse piece and a major reason why it might take a while before a goaltender is finally pushed over the edge.

The two points that are on the line and the money in their bank account are two things Thomas and Rask will have to keep in mind should they decide the spin-o-rama has no place in a game against the Bruins.