Does the NHL need an instant replay expansion?

Posted: January 20, 2014 in NHL
Tags: ,

Two nights ago, in Detroit, the Red Wings were on a late power play against the Los Angeles Kings, down 2-1, with the goalie pulled. Wings’ defenseman Nicklas Kronwall fired a slapshot that was partially blocked into the netting behind the net. What happened next made this post-worthy. Watch the video for yourself:

Had the netting not been there, the puck probably would have landed in the 20th or so row behind Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Instead, the puck hit the netting, bounced back, and hit Quick in the back before falling into the goal. Somehow, the referee behind the play pointed to the net to signify a good goal, without noticing that the puck was 5 feet from clearing the safety netting over the glass.

wings goal netting

The refs convened by the scorer table for a review, only to find out that it’s NOT a review-able play. The lousy call on the ice stands, and a goal for the Red Wings. The Wings would later win in the shootout.

Everyone, including the Wings and their fans, agree that the Kings were robbed here. This goal should not have counted, by any means. The fact that it did is ludicrous. Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say:

“That’s embarrassing for the league. That’s what that is. It doesn’t matter if we’d have scored, or if they had scored it. That’s embarrassing.”

It’s friggin’ embarrassing…What’s the flag? Throw the flag? [Reporters: The challenge flag.] Throw the challenge flag, yeah.”

What’s even worse is that something like this isn’t review-able. We have instant replay and video reviews, and the Situation Room in Toronto for a reason; to get the call right. To decide, once and for all, if the goal should count or not. It’s beyond me why things like this, where the netting isn’t actually out of play, like always, aren’t able to be overturned.

We have heard arguments about coaches’ challenges, much like in the NFL, or what Major League Baseball is now implementing. But the fact is, is that if something isn’t review-able, coaches can’t challenge it, even if they could.

Replay is getting expanded in all of sports. NFL now automatically reviews all scoring plays and turnovers, as well as the coaches having challenges. MLB is now giving managers the right to challenge a play, setting aside the home-run vs. ground-rule-double replay that is also relatively new. NHL is naturally next in line. Expand replay to anything involving a goal. The puck crosses the line? Make sure that it’s clean all the way around, and not just because the ref decided so, despite something wacky happening.

They have the technology. Why not use it?

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