Just over two minutes into overtime on Wednesday night, Jussi Jokinen of the Carolina Hurricanes carried the puck behind his own net while Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks hounded him. Instead of the puck, Perry's stick struck Jokinen's skate, sending the Carolina forward to the ice and Perry to the penalty box on a tripping call …
… wait, no, sorry, that's actually what should have happened. What did happen, courtesy of visually challenged referee Tim Peel, was this:
Perry's goal, scored with Jokinen scrambling to get back into position, gave the Ducks a 3-2 victory. Hurricanes captain Eric Staal's evaluation: "It was unfortunate in overtime to have a call like this go against us."
No kidding. It's a penalty Perry was expecting, glancing over at the ref with the anxious guilt of a child getting a hand stuck in the cookie jar. After the game, Perry said via NHL.com: "They didn't blow the whistle so you keep playing. ... We've had calls against us all year, and maybe that's a turning point for us. We'll see."
It's a penalty the announcers saw. It's a penalty Ducks Bruce Boudreau saw, telling the LA Times, "[We] might have gotten a break." It's a penalty that NHL.com acknowledged, describing the video above as "Corey Perry avoids a penalty, and scores the game winner in overtime against Carolina."
It's a penalty that sent Kirk Muller into hysterics on the bench, and into incredulity after the game when he was asked about the non-call.
"Well, I was told that he hit the net," said Muller, before going into 'I'm trying to avoid the fine here guys' mode. "I watched the replay. You guys can watch the replay and decide what you see." (So he's an expert then …)
Peel and Don VanMassenhoven only called three penalties in the game in total, but this isn't the first time Peel's been accused of looking the other way in overtime.
There's a time to "let the boys" play and there's a time to "blow the damn whistle"; the look on Perry's face before he buried the game-winner told you exactly what time he thought it was. It's a shame the game had to end on a blown call, and one with a poor cover story at that.