NHL Wont Own Mistake- Today the NHL ruled against the San Jose Sharks in the controversy that disallowed what would have been a game winning goal against the Buffalo Sabres. Tommy Wingles shot on goal/stuff in attempt in the overtime of Tuesday Night’s game had it been called correctly would have given the Sharks an overtime win. Instead the Sharks would go on to lose in a shootout that never should have even happened. Now a few things to note here are that the Sharks as I wrote in the post game article Tuesday Night played poorly and did not bring their A-Game to the Shark Tank. That is on the Sharks. That said, it does not excuse the officials on the ice or the so-called “war room” in Toronto from making an egregious mistake that in this instance altered the outcome of a game. A game where players on both teams worked their tails off for over 60 minutes to try and win. A game where the average person who paid to watch in person paid over $70 a ticket in most cases. A game that is supposed to be the best game in the world played by the top athletes in their profession. This is supposed to the the NHL, not the WWE.
The only thing that the war room in Toronto even needed to do is take a look. At the time this happened it was around 10:10pm Pacific Time which means it was 1:10am (Eastern Time) in Toronto. I know last call is at 2am, but would it truly been too much to ask for the war room to pay attention to the only game still going on and in an overtime to have a look at it. The officials on the ice waived off the goal and seemed uncertain about what was going on in front of them. Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller had lost sight of the puck and had no idea where it was. The Sabres Tyler Meyers skated in behind Miller in an attempt to keep the puck from going into the net. He was not successful as the puck hit his skate and clearly went into the net. There is video evidence which shows that the puck was clearly in before any whistle had blown.
“Intent To Blow” Rule - I cannot make this one up, that is what the NHL used today to justify their mistake and pretend that they were not only right but righteous in the process. The basic idea here is that if the official on the ice is even thinking about blowing a whistle, all play can be stopped without any regard to what is going on in the game. Let that sink in for a moment. What this means is that if an official makes an assumption of what is going on is grounds to stop play he can say he intended to blow the whistle and stop any action on the ice in it’s tracks. This usually happens when the puck is in play around the goal crease or even behind the goal. Play can be stopped even when it’s obvious there is no real need as the puck is visible to the officiating crew as well as both teams on the ice. If there is a safety issue, certainly that is one thing. However there was no safety issue for any player in this instance. NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy told CBC Television today “Referee Mike Leggo waves it off when the puck hits the post and starts to come to the net as a scramble develops. [In the NHL's video review room in Toronto] we’re still looking at the puck off the post, then see the play with Leggo approaching net, putting the whistle in his mouth and he waves aggressively.”** Never mind that the puck was already in the net before Leggo approached the net. The officiating crew made the assumption that the puck never got into the net. They got it wrong. The “War Room” clearly got it wrong by never bothering to or offering to have a look at it. Whoever was working the war room Tuesday should either be reprimanded or perhaps even terminated. What they did was borderline incompetence at best. Mr. Murphy loses a great deal of credibility with me to. The only thing worse than the mistake is the cover-up afterward. That’s all Mr Murphy is doing here. When it comes to covering themselves those in charge here certainly have shown to be very good at that if nothing else.
The Fallout- As for the Sharks they need to know going forward that they are the franchise that is truly out on an island in the NHL. I can almost guarantee if this had happened to LA, Anaheim, Chicago, Detroit, Boston this would have not only have been looked at it would have been ruled a goal. The NHL can no longer claim there isn’t bias here, yet they will. It’s painfully obvious. If this was the LA Kings playing anyone, the war room would have been in top of it. The Sharks can count on absolutely no help from the NHL war room going forward. None whatsoever. At the same time they had better pray they never get in this situation again. If they do it will end badly for them. There is a bias. Last month the St Louis Blues Maxim Lapierre knocked out Dan Boyle in a game hitting him in such a way that Boyle could have broken his neck. Director of Player Safety Brendon Shanahan only gave Lapierre a slap on the wrist suspension and unbelievably actually deflected some of the blame on Boyle himself. I can almost guarantee if any Sharks tries to retaliate against Lapierre when St Louis comes to the Shark Tank November 29th, they will get a lengthy suspension or “Shanaban”.
It’s tough for the Sharks to play most teams in the NHL as the competition is always at a high level. That’s what makes the game entertaining and fun to watch. What takes away from that is when they know on any given night they may have to take on the NHL too and at any given moment. There is no way to repair for that. Playing against one team is usually more than enough.
Final Thought- This is Gary Bettman’s NHL. You can argue that he’s been good for the game, and I can argue four lockouts in 20 years with one lost season we will never get back. We all lost half a season just a year ago. There are better men out their that would make a better Commissioner. This won’t happen for at least another four to seven years. If NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy truly believes what he told CBC-TV in Canada, then he’s not the best man for his job either. Whoever was working the war room in Toronto Tuesday Night is no more qualified to be there then a first year Medical Student trying to do a triple bypass on a patient who’s very life depends on it. This is Gary Bettman’s NHL where absolute Incompetence is the rule of the day.
…just my two cents…
Tweet Me or Follow Me @Kingshark49
M2C 66 1/2
*The views and opinions here are my own and only mine. They do not reflect the opinions of other staff or management at BladesofTeal.com or Fansided and their affilates.
**sources: CBS Eye on Hockey: http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/24195855/nhl-says-nogoal-call-in-sharkssabres-right-under-intent-to-blow