In the NHL, can the goalie go to center ice or the offensive zone and play the puck? Or is he restricted to a certain area near his goal?
The goalie can skate up ice as far as the center red line.
There are restrictions.
No. If the goaltender touches the puck on the other side of the centre line, it's a penalty. It's rule 27.7, Participating in the Play Over the Center Red Line. On his side of the ice, the goaltender can play the puck anywhere except for behind the goal line outside the 'trapezoid' that's behind the net. He can go to the centre line with the puck, but not over it.
The goalie cannot play the puck past the red line in the neutral zone. Patrick Roy did it once with the Avs and got a penalty for it. But hey, while doing so, he deked Gretzky (not sure if Wayne actually tried to take the puck away, but Roy can still say he's the only NHL goalie to deke The Great One).
not that i'm aware of. though, teams will substitute the goalie out, and just put six men on the ice with an empty net in some situations, and have two defenders in the mid ice to keep a puck from going in the goal.
I don't think its *against* the rules to do so. It just wouldn't be a smart play to do so.