NHL playoffs: a series of controversies

The Stanley Cup playoffs always give rise to some controversies. In particular, the referees are always under a microscope.

But I don’t remember ever seeing three major controversies in four nights, like we’ve had this week!
 
Briere and Lundqvist

1. Saturday: Ottawa at New Jersey, Game 2

New Jersey scored a crucial goal at the end of a period with only 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock. One of the American TV networks had footage of the play showing that the clock did not start running as soon as the puck was dropped. About a half second was lost, which would have prevented the goal from counting.

I was surprised to learn that the timekeepers are not neutral:  they are employees of the home team. Is it possible that the New Jersey timekeepers deliberately provided their team with that extra, crucial half second?

The score was tied at the end of regulation time. The Senators lost in overtime. Without that goal, the Sens would have won the game and taken a 2-0 lead in the series.

2. Monday: New Jersey at Ottawa, Game 3

All night long, Ottawa constantly pressed for a goal. Martin Brodeur (the legendary New Jersey goaltender) was utterly brilliant and would not yield a single goal.

Finally, Ottawa scored after Mike Fisher bumped into Brodeur, knocking him off balance. It only took Brodeur a split second to regain his balance; but, during that split second, Tom Preissing managed to fire the puck over Brodeur’s shoulder and into the net.

1-0 Sens — the game winning goal. (The Sens later added one into an empty net.)

Should the goal have counted? The rule says “incidental” contact with the goaltender is allowed, outside of the goal crease. The question is, was it incidental contact? Or did Fisher deliberately hook Brodeur’s skate on his way past the net?

Payback time:  one controversial win for each team in this series.

3. Tuesday: Buffalo at New York, Game 4

Finally, the controversy shown in the photograph at the top of this post. Buffalo was losing by one goal with less than one minute to go in the game. Daniel Briere had a scoring opportunity, but Henrik Lundqvist flashed out his right leg to make a brilliant save.

But maybe it wasn’t a save! The overhead camera seems to show that the puck barely crossed the goal line before it made contact with Lundqvist’s pad. Lundqvist immediately kicked it out again.

The referee had not signalled a goal. Buffalo asked for a video review, but here’s the thing:  the referee’s call cannot be overturned unless the video evidence is conclusive.

The puck disappeared under Lundqvist’s pad in that crucial moment where it appeared to be crossing the goal line. NHL officials in Toronto reviewed the video and ruled, No Goal.

What do the pundits think? TSN’s panel was unanimous:  the puck went into the net. But three of the four panelists also say the video evidence was inconclusive, therefore the NHL officials made the right call.

How can this be? All four panelists agree the puck went into the net. How can they say the video evidence wasn’t conclusive?

4. Tonight

Who knows what tonight will bring? Surely not another controversial play as close as these three were!

[For daily playoff commentary, keep your eye on Ode To Low-Life Drunks. Don’t let the blog name fool you:  this is Knotwurth Mentioning’s hockey blog.]

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mysterious Wonder
    May 03, 2007 @ 23:23:08

    Hey there Blackberry guy, does your name reference the use of the newly made technologies of the world, or is it the berry that people eat???

    Anyways, all those controversial plays I agree with, they should have not counted or counted….. How though do you figure the Sens would have won the game 2-1, when in fact lets say that nothing else would have changed with the goal not counting. If all stayed the same then both teams would be tied 1-1 going into OT, because Ottawa tied the game with 24 seconds left in the third period, so to say they would win 2-1, is actually not entirely true.

    Reply

  2. Stephen
    May 04, 2007 @ 06:43:25

    Hi, Mysterious Wonder!

    “Blackberry Guy” does indeed refer to the new technology (with which I am posting this comment). It amuses me that I have one, laid-back type-B personality that I am. But I like having it, I must admit.

    As for the score: doesn’t it stand to reason? If the game was tied at the end of regulation, and we subtract one of the New Jersey goals because it shouldn’t have counted, doesn’t that give Ottawa a one-goal victory? There’s no need for overtime then.

    Finally, I should state for the record that Ode To Low-Life Drunks isn’t just Knotwurth Mentioning’s blog. I referred to Knotwurth because he’s a regular commenter here. But Mysterious Wonder is his hockey blog partner.

    Reply

  3. Mysterious Wonder
    May 04, 2007 @ 09:25:32

    Well that would not happen because Ottawa scored a goal in the second to make it 2-1 Devils, if the late goal in first was disallowed then it would be 1-1, I am not sure how you are getting 2-1 for the Sens by regulation.

    If the game was tied 1-1 with one minute left to play they would not have pulled Emery to get the extra attacker out to try for the tieing goal, instead it would be 5 on 5. So technically it would go into OT because both goals would not happen.

    Thanks for stating my presence 🙂

    Reply

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