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What happened on Maple Leafs’ odd ‘whispering ref’ shootout goal vs. Coyotes?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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At the start of the shootout between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, James van Riemsdyk skated in and slid the puck at goalie Mike Smith. The Coyotes keeper trapped the puck under his pad but momentum carried him back into the net.

Was the puck in? Did he make the save?

There was no signal from referees Paul Devorski and Rob Martell.

Up to the War Room we went for a review. The NHL found the footage inconclusive, and thus the call on the ice stood.

Which was … what?

A goal, apparently, even if neither official signaled it.

The Maple Leafs would score a second goal in the shootout via Joffrey Lupul, winning the game 2-1.

So what happened here?

“Paul Devorski told me that ‘100 percent’ it’s in,” said Coyotes Coach Dave Tippett. “You gotta take him for his word. The video was inconclusive, but Paul said ‘110 percent, Tip, I saw it in.’”

As for not signaling a goal, Tippett said that Devorski indicated to Smith that the puck had gone in.

So there wasn’t a goal signal, but there was a call on the ice, which apparently the officials felt the need to keep from the fans, players, coaches and viewers at home. OK then.

"There's only one guy in this whole building that saw it go in, so I guess you have to respect his call," said Smith, who said the ref "whispered" it to him. Because that's not odd.

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