The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/20/13 at 11:16 PM ET
You probably know by now that the Chicago Blackhawks could have tied their game against the Detroit Red Wings had a goal not been waived off because one Andrew Shaw was ruled to be interfering with Jimmy Howard, as ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers noted...
“I disagreed with the call,” Quenneville said. “He didn’t touch the goalie. ... It certainly [changed the momentum of the game.] We’re 2-2, had everything going, some hits, offensive zone time. Obviously coming back from 2-0 that quick, we were in great shape.”
The play began when Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg put a shot on net from the right circle with 14:20 left in the third period. The puck was deflected just before it reached goaltender Jimmy Howard and traveled into the net. The official standing just to the left of the net immediately waved it off.
The replay showed Shaw was standing in the crease, but he appeared to not make contact with Howard. Shaw had also been bumped further into the crease by two Red Wings just moments before the goal.
“I wasn’t down there, so I don’t know exactly what happened,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “I find it hard to believe from what I saw [that] our player restricted the goaltender from making the save. The puck came from the same side, and he was against his post, so I don’t understand that one. I guess we’ll see the replay. Either way when you have a goal called back, it’s a frustrating thing.”
Stalberg had a better perspective on the play and also thought Shaw hadn’t interfered with the play.
“When I shot it, I saw like [Shaw] was getting pushed into towards the net, [puck] goes through them,” Stalberg said. “It’s one of those things that sometimes they make the call, sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately, today was one of those times that they did. It was a tough, tough bounce for us not to get that one and then go back to score on the next shift, I think.”
But as you already know, the Blackhawks got back into the game because Patrick Kane scored the 2-1 goal after Johan Franzen had been boarded by Niklas Hjalmarsson, which happens at a video that, oddly enough, NBC Sports posted in its entirely:
Quoth Eddie Olczyk: "I don't think they're worried about the hit from behind, they're just wondering why the whistle wasn't blown because Franzen was laying there. I mean, it was one of those where you've seen it called as a penalty, and other times they let 'em play. The referee had the perfect position and decided to let them go. And you can make a case on either side--did Franzen have a chance to protect himself? The referee felt he did and that's the reason play continued. But again, unless the referee feels that the player is in major distress, he will allow the play to continue as the puck leaves the area."
The media covering the game and the media watching the only NHL game on the schedule for Monday night rather vociferously opposed the fact that Shaw's goal, or at least his assist on Stalberg's goal, was waved off, and representative reactions were issued by Sportsline's Chris Peters...
What makes this apparent blown call a bit more interesting is that the officials appeared to miss what should have been a checking-from-behind or boarding call on Niklas Hjalmarsson just prior to Chicago's first goal of the third period.
Hjalmarsson appeared to hit Johan Franzen from behind, leaving the Red Wings forward crumpled on the ice. Play continued, but had the call been made, it would have been blown dead on the rush on which Patrick Kane scored the goal to make it a 2-1 game.
So one could say that the two bad calls, having benefited each team, cancel each other out, but that's not how this works.
The missed penalty call on Hjalmarsson is a touch more common, as there are plenty of infractions that go uncalled in a playoff game. It's a bad call for sure, but that miss is merely highlighted because Chicago was able to score immediately after on the ensuing rush. There will be plenty more missed penalty calls throughout these playoffs.
Goalie interference calls, however, have to be no-doubters. That's one of those calls where the referee has to be absolutely sure because they don't come around too often and have a direct impact on the score. It's hard to believe there was emphatic visual evidence in this instance.
Considering the importance of a Game 3 in a previously tied series, missed calls like this simply can't happen at this level. Referees are going to make mistakes and there will always be human error, but for it to factor so prominently into a big game like this is embarrassing for the league.
And Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski:
Watch it again. If there’s any interference, it’s minimal, and occurs after Jakub Kindl bumps Shaw deeper into the crease. It’s close to being a complete phantom call, wiping away a goal and changing the momentum in the game – Pavel Datsyuk made it 3-1 Detroit just over a minute later.
The rule, via the NHL rule book:
69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.
... If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.
What made the call even a bit more specious: The Kane goal was scored with Johan Franzen down in the Wings’ attacking zone after a cross-check from behind by Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, which was un-penalized. Was this a makeup call? Hooray for "game management!"
We’ve banged this drum more frequently and fervently than Dave Grohl recording “Nevermind”, but once more with feeling: There’s absolutely no reason why goalie interference isn’t a reviewable play via a coaches’ challenge.
Unless your reason is that referees’ blown calls will be made more obvious through this check and balance from the War Room. Because they would be, and rightfully so, because sometimes they steal goals from a team due to their incompetence. Whether that's the case here is your call.
Red Wings fans were roundly told off on Twitter when they suggested that, having Tomas Holmstrom in their lineup from 1996-97 to 2011-2012, they've seen this kind of thing once or twice before, and perhaps the hockey gods had made things even. The past does not assuage the present, they were admonished, or something like that.
But nobody really questioned the hit on Franzen and whether that rule's "fair." Nor did anyone ponder what the reaction would have been had, say, Marian Hossa been boarded with the Wings trailing 2-0, and the Wings scored on the resulting play, and, say, what would have happened if Justin Abdelkader was in the crease and a potential tying goal was waved off.
Plain and simple, we were told, the Hawks were robbed and that wasn't fair. The crease penalty shouldn't be part of the game, but hey, Franzen being down, that happens, tough luck.
Did I miss something here? Or am I just a tinfoil hat-wearing Wings fan, who's seen dozens of Tomas Holmstrom goals tossed aside due to phantom interference or the lack thereof, and have heard the media say, "Oh well, that's Holmstrom, but the referee has the discretion to make those calls, and if they chose to do so, that's the way it is" at least 2/3rds of the time and only rarely, "Well, that's not right, those calls should be reviewed in Toronto."
Or maybe I'm just someone who's both a fan and blogger, and someone who finds it incredibly irritating when those who are fans of "the game" and "the story" as opposed to teams consistently state, "Your subjectivity makes your opinion incorrect and irrelevant. We know better than you do."
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.