Friday, November 20, 2009

NHL "explains" the new goal that wasn't

So the NHL has come out with and "explanation" and "apology" for the goal that wasn't (I haven't got any answer to my email yet, but they surely got tons of them yestedar).
This baffling piece of words strung together so it sounds nice, but means nothing can be found at

Here is Abel to Yzerman's take on it.

And allow me now, sickening as it is, to print NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy's statement in it's entirety:
The way we've always handled it and the way we will continue to handle it until we have a procedure change is the referees call on the ice stands. He sees the shot and he sees the save and doesn't see the puck in the net and kills the play or blows the whistle. It's not when you hear the whistle blow, it's when he intends to blow the whistle. There is a little bit of a gray area there between when he intends and when the whistle sounds.

In this case Dennis LaRue was clear with what he saw and clear with what he interpreted and that was, 'I had killed the play before the puck entered the net.' When we scrutinize it and go through video review I think everybody would concede that the puck was in the net, and Dennis didn't see that unfortunately.

In this particular case, what would happen is we (in the League's video replay room in Toronto) would see the puck in the net and call the video goal judge and say, 'Please blow the horn and get the referee over here. We see a puck in the net that hasn't been ruled a goal.' At that point the referee would come over and we would have the discussion. Usually the referees know exactly what's happening and they would come to us and say, 'Listen, I blew the whistle or my intent to blow the whistle was there. I've got this play dead before the puck crosses the goal line.' No more need be said. Once we hear that, basically video review is now out of the process. We step aside and say it's a call made on the ice and it's a non-reviewable call. It's a whistle blown by the referee and it was blown or the intent to blow it was before the puck crossed the goal line.

In all cases we want to get the right call. In this case it appears we didn't. But, I think sometimes when you have video review people expect perfection and that's never the case and we only let the fan down when they think it's going to be perfect. There are situations where video review can't intercede and we don't want it to intercede. I don't think you ever want video review refereeing a game.

I like the way video review is. I think it works and you have to be careful how much you tinker with it.

The article also noted that
Murphy agreed that the puck "does go into the net on the original shot," but having not spoken to LaRue yet he could only assume that the referee lost sight of the puck when it hit goalie Alex Auld's pad and that's where the intent to blow the whistle comes into play.

and that
Murphy said the League's Hockey Operations group will "internalize and see if we can come up with a better solution or a better answer. If there is one we'll find one."

So. there it is. A whole lot of nice words, but really difficult to tell what they actually mean. To be able to analyze this and give an answer I'm gonna try and find the gist of each paragraph.
What I get from his statement is:
- It was handled right after the rules in the NHL and will be handled the same way until they change

So make a rule change, allow this to be reviewed. If this was handled properly, something is wrong with the rules for sure. Also, nice way of really excusing the ref, the war room and the entire crew.

- And this way is that the referee's call is king here. He sees the wrong thing and blows the whistle

So, even though his call was obviously wrong we can't change that through video review? Do we want a game governed by video review rules where following those rules are more important than getting the call right? This is bullshit. Sure he saw it wrong and blew the whistle, but by then the puck was in the net. FACT!

- He pulls the intent to blow the whistle crap

1. Intent to blow is a stupid rule, that rarely has any effect on what it was supposed to solve, but ruins good goals. Change it, get rid of it or whatever you want, just get it away from hockey.
2. And pulling that argument here is absolute crap! What intent? The puck went straight in, he can't have had time to intend to blow the whistle before it went in (unless of course he thought it was in on Abbie's shot, in which case he is blind). Also, the puck went in almost 3 seconds before the whistle. If he intended to blow so long before he actually blew, he needs a bit of training. So basicaly, this is bullshit. A smoke screen to cover up a mistake, sadly used now in a way that contributes to further discredit the NHL and its officating.

- LaRue didn't see it and though the whistle had gone before it was in the net (so, he thought it went in like when Auld got up?). Video review showed that he was wrong, but he didn't see that unfortunately.

So if he didn't see it and video review was clear, why didn't you guys tell him he was wrong? Or did they and he just didn't listen? This is the reason why the war room should have final say in things like this.

- The review room saw a puck in the net that hadn't been called a goal and called down to the ref. They talked to him. Referees usually know what's going on and explains this (which LaRue probably did, just, he was WRONG). At the time when he says the whistle had gone before it, it's non-reviewable and they step down because the whistle was blown or intended to be blown before the puck crossed the line. NICE! So if the ref's a fucktard and wrong he can just say that crap and the review is off!

Well. That's plain stupid. Why is this non-reviewable. Well, LaRue clearly stated that it had been blown off. Review show this to be wronger than a naked Margaret Tatcher, so they should really be able to tell him: You're wrong, it's a goal, deal with it! I can see why intent is non-reviewable, but if they don't get rid of the rule, they should make it possible to review, so that in cases where there was no reason to intend to blow the whistle, it's a good goal. Also, hockey is a game played until the whistle is blown! The intent rule needs to go. NOW!
And by god, is that part of the statement a really weak excuse for what happened.

- NHL wants good calls


- In this case they didn't get it


- People expect the video review to be perfect

Yup, or near perfect. These guys have video and sound to see what's right and wrong. In 99,99% of the cases (including this one) that video will show what the right call is.

- There are rules about what's reviewable to prevent video refereeing from taking over.

So amend these rules! We have seen a lot of wrong video review calls lately, because the ref says something that makes it non-reviewable. If you want it to be right, then amend the list of reviewable situations and give the video room the ability to call down in all situations and call the ref and idiot and make the right call for him if he is wrong.

- Murphy likes the video review system and doesn't wanna tinker with it

Well he is just a plain fool then.

So, the NHL, as predicted came up with a statement, where they:
- Doesn't really apologize for anything
- Comes up with perfect explanations for what happened showing that noone was wrong really, the ref just didn't see it.
- The blames the system
- Which they doesn't wanna change

Shameful, it's shameful for the NHL to keep acting like this.

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