Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Linesman Brian Mach became the first Minnesotan to officiate 1,000 NHL games during Friday’s Wild-Blackhawks game.
Mach has so many stories and memories, but here are his two favorite:
His very first faceoff during a 2000 preseason game in Denver. After an offside, Mach dropped the puck between Dallas’ Mike Modano and Colorado’s Joe Sakic. Modano inexplicably fell on top of the puck, Sakic inexplicably put his hand on top of Modano. Mach blew his whistle, and the two future Hall of Famers stood up, took their gloves off, shook Mach’s hand and said, “Congrats, we wish you the best of luck.
“It just floored me. A kid from Little Falls, Minnesota, and those two stars knew right then and there that was my first puck drop. I was just flabbergasted.”
The second involves Modano, too. After 9/11, NHL officials spent much of the 2001 preseason traveling on team charters. Mach flew to a couple of games with the Stars.
During Mach’s first season as an NHL official, “Modano would always win my faceoffs, like religiously win them.”
On the team plane, Mach spotted Modano studying video and saw himself on the screen. “Modano goes to me, ‘You know how I win every faceoff from you?’ ” Mach said. “I said, ‘Yeah, how do you do it?’ He goes, ‘Watch your pointer finger on your right hand.’ I would just move it enough on the puck right before I dropped the puck that he knew it was going down.
“The next night, on the ice, my first faceoff with Modano, I had my finger glued to that puck. I dropped it, he lost it clean and he looked at me and goes, ‘Wow.’ I just giggled. He said, ‘I’m never telling you another thing again.’ ”
Don Cherry talks about the new overtime format, the Maple Leafs issues at the net and goes on a rant about what is happening to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Plus a few more topics including some of the rookies...
John Shannon of Sportsnet with the explanation.
from Tim Wharnsby at NHL.com,
O'Rourke was the official down low and signaled a goal, but Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock decided to challenge the call on the ice after his assistant in the press box, Andrew Brewer, notified the bench there was goaltender interference on the play.
"I didn't challenge nothing," Babcock said. "[Brewer] yelled in [assistant coach] Jim Hiller's ear and Jim said, 'We're challenging.' Then they were good enough to put it up on the screen, so I knew by time the ref got over there we'd win it."
The Maple Leafs won the challenge but lost Babcock's debut as Maple Leafs coach, 3-1 at Air Canada Centre.
A team is allowed to challenge only if it hasn't used its timeout. If the challenge is unsuccessful, the team is charged its timeout.
O'Rourke said after the game he knew there was contact with Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier but thought the skate of Toronto defenseman Matt Hunwick ran into the goalie, not the stick of Montreal forward Tomas Plekanec as the replay showed.
So after the goal was scored, O'Rourke skated to the penalty box to report the scoring play to the official scorer. Referee Frederick L'Ecuyer stopped in front of the benches to supervise the next line change.
That's when the Maple Leafs made their decision to challenge. L'Ecuyer informed O'Rourke, and L'Ecuyer made an announcement to the fans.
O'Rourke then was handed the 4-G video monitor and was put in touch on a headset with the NHL Situation Room in Toronto. He viewed "two or three" replays and overturned his call.
"We had what we thought we saw on the ice," O'Rourke said. "[The situation room] said, 'Here's the replay, take a look at it.' Once you saw the overhead replay, it was pretty cut and dry.
If you are going to call this a penalty shot, then it has to remain consistent through the season.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Expanded video review is being implemented in the NHL by way of a coach's challenge -- with only missed offside plays or goaltender interference allowed to be looked at again.
When those occur, the coach will signal for a timeout and specify exactly what he wants reviewed. The referee will then relay that information to the crowd and be handed a headset and video monitor at the time keeper's bench, where he can look at numerous replays of what's happened.
The final determination will be made by the official(s) on the ice -- just as umpires get to do with reviews in Major League Baseball or referees do in the NFL. In some cases, the referees will be highlighting their own mistakes.
"If there's a better call -- it might not be the call that the fans want in the building -- but if there is a better call than they are going to be empowered to make it," said Walkom. "I think our guys fully support overruling themselves in the game because they know it best serves the game. They'll take ownership of it.
"I think they'll be real good at it when it does occur."
A key aspect of the new rule is that it won't be used as a way to unnecessarily stop or slow the game because a coach loses his timeout when he makes an incorrect challenge. So you must have a timeout at your disposal to initiate a challenge -- except in the final minute of play or in overtime, when reviews will be prompted by the situation room in Toronto.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
It’s a new National Hockey League season and there’s a fresh crop of zebras, as the transformation of the NHL’s officiating department continues.
There was a time not long ago when an NHL official had a job for life, once he got inside the ropes. But as the speed of the game has increased, the life expectancy of an NHL referee has gone in the other direction. Now, with officiating combines and an international search underway for the best from all the hockey playing countries, donning the stripes in an NHL game isn’t nearly as easy as it once may have been.
“It’s forced us to find officials with a skating skill-set that is necessary to keep up to today’s game,” the NHL’s director of officiating Stephen Walkom said from Buffalo, N.Y., where the annual NHL officials training camp is taking place. “You have to be a great skater on both edges. Transition forwards to backwards. Move in, out and all around with the speed of the game.
“We’re looking for athletes,” he said. “The days of not being athletic as a referee are long gone.”
And if that athlete comes from a little town outside Moscow called Tver — the same place that gave us Ilya Kovalchuk — all the better.
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
According to Stephen Walkom, officials welcome the rule change that brings a coach’s challenge to goalie interference, as well as offsides that leads to a goal.
“People don’t realize the referee probably makes at least 10 decisions relative to goaltender interference during a game: Did the goalie get bumped? Was it incidental contact? Did he get reset? Was it in the blue? Was it in the white? Was it intentional? Did he get pushed?” Walkom said. “It’s dynamic as anything.”
Walkom said that last season there were eight plays when the officials would have negated a goal had they been able to see it again. He said there were an additional two disallowed goals that should have been allowed.
“I see this year, if challenged, our guys getting those right,” Walkom said. “Those sort of egregious glaring errors that from the official’s view the first time around he got wrong and now if challenged he’s going to be able to get right.
“I see the next generation of officials coming along where huddling and correcting themselves becomes the norm. That wouldn’t have always happened 10, 15 years ago. Guys would be stubborn, wouldn’t want to admit when they’re wrong. But in this day and age with video technology, you’re going to have that. This season I think is an exciting development, another tool for our guys and something that can only help the game.”
more topics including the recruiting system for NHL officials...
from Bruce McCurdy of the Cult of Hockey,
Why can’t the zebras find a happy medium that sees them call actual penalties when they happen instead of pocketing their whistles on too many nights? The game hasn’t changed that much that players have legitimately cut their infractions in half over the past decade, as the powerplay opportunity numbers suggest. Too many nights the 5v5 game results in a virtual stalemate out there, and the occasional powerplay might have the desired effect of encouraging at least one of the teams to try to score.
It’s a sad state of affairs that in many games the only penalties that will be called down the stretch are non-discretionary ones. Somebody shoots the puck over the glass? No choice, that’s a penalty. Somebody puts an opponent’s face through the glass? See no evil, call no evil.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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