FanDuel - WFBC

December 30, 2006

When does a pro sports league not follow its own rules? : Apparently when hockey refs assume a puck crossed the goal line, even thought the rules require "visible evidence" (e.g., actually SEEING the puck go across the line) to award a goal and overturn a "No Goal" call that was made on the ice. The visiting Columbus Blue Jackets lost to the Minnesota Wild last night when a phantom goal was awarded in overtime to the home team. The game was important for the Jackets, who trailed Minnesota by 7 points going into last night's game for the last playoff spot in the conference. Yes, I'm a Jackets fan, but I'd feel bad for any team that had this happen to them.

posted by gdvbranz to hockey at 09:40 AM - 19 comments

They shouldn't call phantom goals, but we're four months before season's end. That's too early to be talking about the eighth playoff spot in a conference. Even if the Jackets got screwed by a bad call, they have a long time to make up for it.

posted by rcade at 09:52 AM on December 30

If they fall one point short at the end of the season they're not gonna be happy. Not that the correct call would have necessarily resulted in a Blue Jackets win. As for too early, just this morning I was comparing points and games played to see where Ottawa stood in the playoff hunt.

posted by apoch at 10:09 AM on December 30

You're right, Apoch -- even if they had waived off the goal, there was no guarantee the Jackets would have won. In fact, there was a penalty on the play regardless of the goal call, which means the Wild would have been skating 4 on 3. With that much open ice, it wasn't looking good for the Jackets anyway. Still a disappointing way to lose -- If we were going to lose, I'd rather see a shot ripped from the point that clearly hits the back of the net.

posted by gdvbranz at 10:29 AM on December 30

That was a weird one for sure. But it looked like a goal to me. The in-net cam shows the shot disappearing into Walz's pants while Walz was being introduced to the back of the net. Well, that's a goal. I know the rules, if to be taken a la religious fundamentalist, say that in order for a goal to be a goal it has to be indisputablely seen that it went in, if there is a 'no goal' call on the ice - but I think they got the right call here.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:42 AM on December 30

I've been doing some reading. There actually doesn't seem to be anything in the rulebook about puck visibility being a goal requirement. I would copy and paste but the NHL doesn't seem to know how to properly render a PDF, so you'll have to download it here. The goal specification says "if it's in the net, it's a goal". Not "if someone sees it in the net". Visibility is only an issue because that's how you can tell that the puck it in the net, 99% of the time. If the puck is somewhere underneath the goalie but one of his legs is in the net, you can't call that a goal because you don't know where the puck is. This time, we know exactly where the puck is. Perhaps an analogy is in order: if the goaltender catches the puck in his trapper but his momentum carries his arm into the net, it's a goal, even though the puck can't be seen. The puck was definitely in Walz's pants, and Walz's pants were definitely in the net, therefore the puck was in the net, therefore it's a goal.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:06 AM on December 30

Perhaps an analogy is in order: if the goaltender catches the puck in his trapper but his momentum carries his arm into the net, it's a goal, even though the puck can't be seen. I saw that exact scenario happen last year. It was none other than Marty Broduer. You see him catch the puck in his glove and his arm swing back. The overhead view clearly showed his arm go behind the line. You couldn't see the puck in his glove but you knew it was there. That too, was also called a goal.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:33 AM on December 30

Watched the game and this play. The ref's got it right, it's a goal. As for the Blue Jackets themselves they play hard every night and they have a ton of potential but winning hard fought 1 goal games and then getting blown out the next night isn't going to get it done this year. Great comeback against Boston then give up 7 goals against the Red Wings is a prime example. Zherdev and Nash (although Nash has shown a pulse lately) are having disappointing seasons and without the stellar play of Norrenna and Vyborny this squad would be a lot more then 7 games back. The squads that are ahead of them for the 8th playoff spot include the entire NW Division who are separated by 1 point amongst themselves and Chicago one back of the NW Pack. They would have to play .650% Hockey the rest of the way and hope a ton of the 6 teams in front of them fall apart to have a realistic chance of making the playoffs this year. I admire the enthusiasm you show for your Team and having seen the Blue Jackets Prospects play for a week in the Red Wings Tournament they have a ton of young developing NHL Talent. With Hitchcock's coaching they look to make a serious run in a year or two. Be patient and enjoy watching these youngster develop into a contending squad.

posted by skydivedad at 12:22 PM on December 30

The only rule that I can think of that would have called for the nullification of the goal would be if the referee had lost sight of the puck before it went into the net. That does not seem to be the case here. My only question is why it took them 7 minutes to see that it was a goal. The replay is clear. In the article, Ken Hitchcock was bemoaning the difference in penalties. How soon he forgets that he was the beneficiary of a couple of "ticky-tacky" calls against Boston late in the third period that enabled CBJ to tie, and eventually win, the game. Not that Bruins played all that well, but at least one of those calls was really tight.

posted by Howard_T at 12:28 PM on December 30

I do believe that they've changed the way they rule on a goal. If they know that the puck enters the goaltenders glove and the glove goes past the line, they'll give the goal. It use to be that the replay had to show the puck visibly going over the goal line. The Red Wings were awarded a goal like this not too long ago, I just can't remember which game it was.

posted by wingnut4life at 12:43 PM on December 30

The only rule that I can think of that would have called for the nullification of the goal would be if the referee had lost sight of the puck before it went into the net. That does not seem to be the case here. Howard, I think the ref did lose sight of the puck. He probably had the worst angle from which to see the puck go into Walz's pants, which is why he didn't initially rule it a goal. Everyone did their jobs correctly here: 1. The goal judge saw the puck go into the pants and the pants go into the net, so he turns the light on. 2. The referee does not clearly see the puck go into the goal, so he makes no call. However, the light is on, so a video review is necessary. 3. The video evidence establishes that the puck was in the net. It use to be that the replay had to show the puck visibly going over the goal line. wingnut, I think this is a very common misconception. The replay has to establish that the puck is in the net, period. 99% of the time this will be done by visually watching the puck go over the goal line, hence the misconception. This particular goal is in the other 1% of cases. If somebody can find me a rule that actually points to a requirement for direct visual evidence of a puck in the goal, great, but I skimmed through the rulebook this morning and found nothing even close.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:42 PM on December 30

The only rule that I can think of that would have called for the nullification of the goal would be if the referee had lost sight of the puck before it went into the net. *And* he has to blow the whistle. The puck is live until that whistle sounds. So, the ref can lose sight of the puck, but it's still live until he blows his whistle. I can't point to specific examples (dates and teams and whatnot), but I have seen games where the ref loses sight of the puck, he blows his whistle, but the replay shows that the puck crossed the line before the whistle actually blew. The goals counts then.

posted by NoMich at 03:08 PM on December 30

I feel for this. Last night while watching the Thrashers/Sabers game, Atlanta was down a goal or two with around 4 minutes left. Atlanta shoots from the slot, and the goalie goes for a glove save that he'd easily make 99.5% of the time. However, he didn't handle it cleanly and the puck dropped down and Atlanta got the puck in the net. Only problem is the refs were banking on him making a clean save, too, and called the play dead as the puck hit his glove thus negatting the goal. This isn't meant to whine as I tend to think bad calls eventually cancel out, but it's crap when a ref makes a call like that whistleing the play dead before, well, it's really dead. It ruins the integregity of the game either way.

posted by jmd82 at 10:28 AM on December 31

If the Blue Jackets wanted the win so bad, they would have stayed out of the penelty box and never taken this to overtime and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

posted by Psycho at 10:41 AM on December 31

DrJohn, NoMich, absolutely correct in your assessments. Thank you. (Now why aren't you guys wearing stripes and skates?)

posted by Howard_T at 11:07 AM on December 31

Yeah, I think the replay suggests that you'd have to call that a goal as the rules cited by DJE outline. re: When does a pro sports league not follow its own rules? Recall a significant EPL example when a memorably and comically obvious goal late in a 2005 Tottenham - Man United game denies Spurs the goal that would have made it 1-0 with only minutes to play. Potentially they then missed out on an extra two points in the standings (though they finished three points back of the 7th place finisher, which earned a UEFA Cup place).

posted by gspm at 02:23 PM on December 31

Psycho -- I agree that the Jackets getting called for 11 penalties was excessive. If you read the post-game comments by head coach Ken Hitchcock, that was his assessment of the situation. He didn't focus on the controversial overtime goal -- he was more critical about the team finding its way into the penalty box so many times, stating that they shouldn't have been in such a situation to begin with. MrFrisby, great analogy. I've also seen that happen with a goalie's glove crossing the goal line with the puck in it and the goal being counted. Maybe teams should become more adept at shooting the puck into each other's equipment and then sliding over the goal line!? (kidding, of course).

posted by gdvbranz at 05:42 PM on December 31

didnt know there were hockey fans in ohio...

posted by nymetsfan at 08:10 PM on December 31

If you go to a Blue Jackets game, you can tell who the fans are amd who's there entertaining clients because their company bought season tickets. There's a few of us (I used to go to the Cleveland Crusaders and Cleveland Barons games as a little kid) who've followed the sport all our lives, and a few of us who are thrilled to have a team in the state. I happen to live in Columbus, so I make it to a few games. It's enjoyable getting to watch guys like Federov and Foote, as well as up-and-comers like Nash and a couple of others.

posted by gdvbranz at 05:27 PM on January 02

In Buffalo we recall the NHL not following there own rules and allowing a goal that determined the outcome of the Stanley Cup. Also in a playoff game against the flyers puck went through a hole in mesh of side of net and counted

posted by skideed at 08:05 AM on January 04

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