On Wednesday night, the "intent to blow" rule stole a goal from the Detroit Red Wings and had the NHL publicly acknowledging the failures in its officiating system. Thursday night brought another controversial moment in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-5 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, during the 4-on-4 overtime:
Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets saw:
- Hagman getting tackled and no penalty being called despite the ref standing two feet away
- The ref watching the puck trickle into the net
- The ref checking his watch
- The ref looking at the dueling banjos in the crowd
- The ref blowing the whistle
This one obviously isn't as egregious an officiating error as the one in the Wings/Dallas Stars game, but it's just as farcical. The whistle blows with the puck well over the goal line, and the referee Ian Walsh is looking at the pile instead of the goal when he blows it (or intends to in his mind). Pretty easy to lose sight of the puck when you're not looking for it in the back of the net, right?
So this is twice in two nights, and according to NHL VP Mike Murphy it's about a half-dozen of these "Intent To Blow" incidents since the start of the season. Murphy said the NHL will look into the "procedures" for correcting an ill-advised stoppage of play by a referee, and let's hope they do.
If the teams play to the whistle, this is a goal for the Leafs. If the War Room was allowed to overturn the ref's call on the ice in this situation, it might have been a goal, too. (And not just because the War Room is in Toronto. Although it'd probably help. Now, where did I put my tin-foil hat again?)