Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Kerry, I've been a huge fan of you and your hair for as long as I can remember. Loved your book and the insights you give in your columns.
In regards to the disputed goal by the Red Wings during their game versus the Kings on Saturday, can you provide some insight as to how the on ice officials made their determination?
From what I've read, there seems to be two different thoughts on why a goal was allowed with a puck that was clearly out of play.
One, none of the on ice officials saw the puck clearly hit the safety netting so the call on the ice stands, a goal.
Two, on ice official(s) did see the puck hit the safety net, but as none of them blew the play dead (or intended to), the play was still active and whether or not they saw it hit the net is irrelevant. The call on the ice stands as the play was active and can't be overruled.
Both reasons center around the fact that no video review was allowed so the call on the ice had to stand. In an age where basic things like boundary violations can easily be determined with video review, when is the NHL going to change things to expand video review for goals?
Thanks for your great work and insights.
To answer your first question, you can take it to the bank when I tell you that none of the four officials on the ice saw the puck strike the fan-friendly protective netting above the end zone glass. If one of the crew had witnessed the puck leave the playing surface (or even came to that conclusion through self-reflection) a goal would have subsequently been disallowed in spite of the fact that the whistle had not blown. The official's intent to blow the whistle would prevail to ensure that the correct call was made.
When the play occurred in real time, I was bombarded with questions on Twitter as to how four officials can possibly miss this call. I hope you will understand there are times when it is next to impossible to track the puck at ice level.
The 'perfect storm' resulted on this play after Niklas Kronwall's slapper was blocked by Jarret Stoll causing the puck to rocket into the upper atmosphere of the Joe. Referee Rob Martell was appropriately focused on Todd Bertuzzi and the action in and around Jonathan Quick. The other three officials attempted to locate the puck in its flight path. Please don't suggest that the whistle should have immediately blown because these three officials lost sight of the puck.
A reasonable time frame is allowed to make sure the puck is either frozen or out of play in an effort to avoid a premature whistle. The very best angle to track and detect the puck hitting the protective net was enjoyed by Kings defenceman Drew Doughty as he approached the goal line, facing the end boards and looking in an upward stare. None of the Officials shared Doughty's perspective!
The next visual connection with the puck that any of the officials possibly had was when it was tracking downward just prior to striking Jonathan Quick on the numbers and deflected directly into the net. Drew Doughty immediately appealed to referee Martell and provided the evidence he had witnessed. Doughty's information would have been communicated in the conference held at the Referee crease. The gut wrenching truth these guys wrestled with was that none of them had seen the puck strike the protective netting to rule the play dead. The Officials were helpless to do anything other than allow the goal to stand since the puck clearly enter the net off the back of Quick. With an understanding of what took place I can't fault the Officials one bit.
The blame rests clearly on the current video review process and the Hockey Operations Department and personnel that make exclusive "officiating decisions" on a nightly basis in the Situation Room in Toronto. Kurt, you asked when is the NHL going to change things to expand video review for goals? I can't understand why the general managers have not insisted on revamping the review process. It is surely time for a complete overhaul!
I point out Rule 38.4 (viii) which says, "The video review process shall be permitted to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g. to ensure they are "good hockey goals"). For example (but not limited to), pucks that enter the net by going though the net messing, pucks that enter the net from underneath the net frame, pucks that enter the net undetected by the referee, etc."
I would hope that an undetected puck that leaves the playing surface (hitting protective netting out of play) and then directly results in the puck entering the net would fall under that broad "ETC" in the rule to permit video review to "assist the referees" in determining the legitimacy of the goal. This was well beyond the parameters of a "good hockey goal!" There was absolutely zero "assistance" provided from the Situation Room as the officials huddled on the ice in an attempt to make a correct determination. I suspect the officials were dying a thousand deaths on the ice and the replay clearly demonstrates that a telephone call was not initiated by the Toronto Situation Room to "assist the referees."
Major League Baseball announced last Thursday (link) at the Owners Meetings their unanimous decision to fund and expand instant replay for the 2014 season. The key points for quick reference are including the manager's challenge and most importantly that off-site decisions will be conducted at the Replay Command Center in New York which will become their Situation Room. Two additional four-man umpire crews will be hired and rotated through New York to review video feeds. The replay umpire's decision in New York will be final.
Take a lesson NHL; it's time to make a positive change with regard to video review. Perhaps Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi might agree.