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Fraser: Real-time call should be made on shootout goal

Kerry Fraser
12/20/2013 9:35:20 AM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca.

Kerry,
 
Just watched the shootout in the Coyotes/Leafs game and I have to ask, why was the James van Riemsdyk goal allowed to count?  All of the video replays we were shown on TV were inconclusive about whether the puck had entirely crossed the line or not. Neither ref made an attempt at blowing the whistle or pointing at the net and no call was made on the play as it was sent right to the video replay judges. 

Only after the replay was reviewed was the goal allowed to count. Paul Devorski told Coyotes coach Dave Tippett that he was sure it was a goal. If Devorski was so confident it was a goal then why didn't he signal a goal and blow the whistle? Why did he send it to the video replay?  Their indecision and explanation do not seem to match up.
 
Your insight would be greatly appreciated as it appears the Leafs were the recipients of the proverbial home ice advantage!
 
Thanks,
Chad Conner in Phoenix

Chad,

After witnessing JVR's ultimate shootout goal, neither referees (Rob Martell and Paul Devorski) signaled a goal nor did they make a waive off.

Understandably, they appeared uncertain and indecisive as they searched to find the puck from underneath Smith's pads. The puck did not become visible until Smith wisely and carefully manipulated his pads from inside the net and kicked his feet forward until the puck appeared well out in the middle of his goal crease. 

Since no signal was made by either referee as required, I must assume they did not and could not see the puck across the goal line. As such, they were unable and unwilling to make an initial call. The only alternative for Martell and Devorski at this point was to pass the decision upstairs to video review which has become the 'safety net' for the official.

Video review rendered an inconclusive verdict since no camera angle was available to clearly demonstrate the puck crossing the goal line due to the obstructed view from Smith's pads! The call then reverted back to the referee(s) on the ice for a 'final decision.'

Referee Rob Martell was on the head set throughout the video review process. The referee was either provided with input and assistance from upstairs and/or Martell used common sense and logic to deduce that since the puck was under Mike Smith's pads and Smiths pads were across the goal line a legal goal should be counted.   

I agree with the referee's ultimate decision in that it is most logical and probable that the puck completely crossed the goal line. I have personally stood on the goal line and signaled a goal when the puck was caught by the goalkeeper with his glove across the line and then pulled his glove and the puck forward out of the net. 

The puck was in the glove and the glove was across the goal line and inside the net. I also counted goals when the goalkeeper carried the puck across the line and into the net. I made these decisions immediately and without hesitation. There was no video review to act as a safety net. Even when the review process was implemented I wanted to see the play and make the call.

- This very 'late' decision by the on-ice referee Thursday night following video review highlights at least two flaws in the current system. The first is that two different standards can be applied in determining goals. Video review must clearly see the puck across the goal line with an unobstructed view before they will verify a goal. The evidence must be unequivocal! If this can't be achieved video review personnel render an 'inconclusive' verdict even in cases where it appears logical that the puck would have crossed the line.
 
- The referee, on the other hand, as we saw demonstrate on this call, allowed a goal to stand by applying logic, common sense and the power of deduction to determine that in his judgment the puck had crossed the goal line.

My recommendation is to provide the referee with the authority to review controversial goals at ice level (including goalkeeper interference) and have the final authority and judgment in these matters. The optics on JVR's ultimate goal determination looked ridiculous!

Referee Martell (and Devorski) did not make a decision on the play in real time. Martell then spent several minutes communicating through a head set and staring into space. Following the inconclusive review verdict, Referee Martell was forced to render a final decision - one that he was unable or unwilling to make in real time!

The Refs are supposed to make a call one way or the other in real time; let them also make the final decision through the video review process, As Referee Rob Martell demonstrated Thursday night, that's in their job description and what they get paid to do!

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser


Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.


Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!


You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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