Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dennis LaRue and the other goal that wasn't

To start you up, here is a video of what I am going to write about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v0HSV6yIYQ

Then, here are some other blogs with interesting views and discussions on this:
The Triple deke, The Scrappy Octopus, Snapshots, Red Wings Hardware, Animal Drew on Nightmare on Helm Street, Chris on Nightmare on Helm Street, Hockeytown Static, DetroitHockey.net and these from Abel to Yzerman: Number one, read the comments too anf Number two

So there we go. For you who are too lazy to read other blogs or watch the video I'll break it down for you:
- Brad May wins the puck behind the goal to Abelkader who wraps around and shoots. Auld saves and May backhands the rebound on goal. Auld seems to have blocked the puck and the play is whistled dead.
- But Brad May puts his stick in the air, then he's joined in celebration by the his linemates and the crowd cheers. (At this time Auld gets the puck out his net, but we don't see that on TV). The refs and linesmen gather behind the goal to talk.
- The refs move to the score-box, La Rue whistles to slow the celebrations down and we get to see the first replays.
- Replays from two angles shows that Auld didn't block it. It touched his foot and then at once went into the side of the net, invisible to the ref, but clearly in.
- Dennis La Rue talks to Lidstrom. Then he goes to talk to Mike Babcock
- The announcer says:
The ruling on the ice is no goal, the whistle had blown
. Loud booing from the crowd.
- We get to see a replay with sound. The puck was in the net 2-3 seconds before the whistle went.
- LaRue talks more to Uncle Mike, but wait, Toronto is calling, they must be calling to tell them what happened.
- La Rue talks to Toronto and we get another angle to hear how late the whistle was.
- More replays
- LaRue talks to Draper and then says
There is no goal on the play, the whistle had blown to kill the play
. The crowd, Ken D, Mickey, Larry, the Wings, every hockey fan watching is left stunned.
- Face off.

So let's break this down:
- I do understand that LaRue didn't see it in and blew for a blocked puck
- But then the video review guys from Toronto called and they MUST have told him that it was a goal and that the whistle went seconds after the goal
- But still, he claimed the whistle had gone. This is absolutely stupid. The guy is trying to cover his ass because he made a bad first judgement. He can't admit he was wrong and Toronto can't overrule him.
- He might of course talk about the intent of blowing, but the puck went in right away, so while he might have intended the blow for a frozen puck, the puck was already in the net. The only way he could have intended to blow before the goal is if he though Auld froze Abelkader's shot. In which case it took him about 8 seconds to blow the whistle.

This is stupid. It is ridiculous. NHL can not have referees who does this and tries to not admit their errors. LaRue should be suspended for this or at least see no play off time, but we all know that won't happen.

There will be an outcry about this and the NHL will answer with either silence or defending their guy. That's a shame for hockey, a shame for the league and a shame for Bettman. The mistakes are too many and they never admit it. Just think about the goal that wasn't against Anaheim in the conference semis or the Sharks no goal against the Thrashers some time ago or the goal in friday's Leafs game. This needs to stop and this is what has to be done right now:
- Referees making grave mistakes are suspended or doesn't get to referee in playoffs, this should happen to LaRue right now.
- Toronto war room can overrule referees
- Intent to blow is no longer reason for disallowing a goal.
- The NHL comes with a big, big apology for this situation.
- The referees gets a screen where they can watch replays.
- An apology from LaRue.

To do something about this everyone should send their thoughts to the NHL and the NHL officials at these links officials and NHL.

This is what I wrote to both:
Hi, I am a Norwegian fan who watched the Dallas vs. Detroit game last night.

As I see it, the replays show that the puck was clearly in the net and that it happened about 2-3 seconds before the whistle was blown by Mr. LaRue. So his explanation that he whistled the goal dead is useless and wrong. I can understand that he didn't see the goal, but with Toronto telling him these facts he should have re-made his mind.

I can see how you might say that he intended to blow, but the puck went right in, so he cannot have intended to blow before it went in.

This is just another example in a long line of referees disallowing goals for the wrong reasons and then making the call stand even though they talked to the video review team and the goal was from video obviously good.

Examples of this:
- Brad Watson's no goal call in the Western Conference semifinals game 3 between Detroit and Anaheim.
- The disallowed Sharks goal @ the Thrashers a few weeks ago
- The call on the obvious Leafs goal, that was disallowed last friday.

The list is longer, but I will keep to this. In all these cases the NHL and the Officials board has responded with either silence or defense of the referee.

This is a disgrace and hurts NHL's credibility so much. If you don't believe me, read around in the blog world. Even Stars fans and Penguins fans agree that this call was wrong.

I have these suggestions to make the system work better:
- The referees gets a screen where they can watch replays.
-Toronto war room can overrule referees
- Intent to blow is no longer reason for disallowing a goal.

I think I speak for most of your fanbase when I say, no, demand these immediate reactions to this situation:
- An apology from LaRue.
- An apology from the league and from the officals board
- Immediate suspension of LaRue for a few games or at least that he doesn't get to referee in the playoffs this year. The same should happen to every referee making these kinds of mistakes.

This letter is also posted on by blog at http://fightnightatthejoe.blogspot.com/ and I will cover your response to this letter and the public statements about the episode there.

Thank you for your time, please do the right thing to prevent this league from losing the little it has left of credibility.

Best regards, Anders (Last name deleted here), Oslo, Norway


lastley here's some quotes from the people involved:
Babcock:
It wasn't blown dead. It was a goal. he guy never meant to blow the whistle. It was a shot.

He also said
That's as stupid as I've ever seen


Alex Auld:
They've got enough cameras in the building. If they say it's not a goal, it's not a goal. I think the biggest thing was the intent of the official to blow the whistle.
Blow me...

Brad May:
After I shot it, I didn't see it go in. But he (Auld) was trying to pick his foot up and it was in the net. I just saw a highlight of it and have no idea why it wasn't a goal.

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