There are times when you really wonder why video replay exists in the National Hockey League, and this is one of those times: a puck dancing along the goal line without a pile of bodies or a goaltender's glove obstructing its view, and the "war room" in Toronto determined the replay was inconclusive.
From NHL.com, League senior VP Mike Murphy opines on why the clip didn't produce a definitive ruling:
Murphy said the net twine partly obstructed an overhead view on both the Versus and TSN telecasts that might have prompted some fans to speculate LaRose had scored. "As the overhead camera view is enhanced, both the red line and the white ice become more blurred and the net meshing becomes more of an obstruction," said Murphy. "After looking at it numerous times from several different angles, I can't say with 100 percent certainty that the puck was completely over the line."
Look, it's simple: If the video coverage by the NHL and its broadcasting partners can't determine whether a shot like LaRose's produced a goal -- on a play in which Tim Thomas said another camera angle may have shown some "air" -- then the video review system is inferior and ultimately flawed. This should have been like locating the sun on a cloudless afternoon; but because of a camera placement and assorted technical mumbo and jumbo, the play was inconclusive.
It ends up being the difference between and 3-0 and a 4-0 win for Carolina, so the outrage is quelled; but what about the next time the replay system can't validate a goal like this?
Of course, this replay was one of the only things that didn't go Carolina's way in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. Not that you'd know it from the media postmortem. Other than eliminating the top seed, is there any way Carolina, as a team, actually gets credit for a win?
The Bruins Blog characterized the Boston players as being so loose and lax that they were two cocktails away from wearing lamp shades onto the ice.
Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe slammed the Bruins for poor puck possession and passing.
The Sports Illustrated headline for Game 2: "Less talented Hurricanes prove a sweaty effort can topple the Bruins." Although Alan Muir is complementary of the Hurricanes' effort and Paul Maurice's coaching decisions, he still paints this as a long-shot winning the Derby because the favorite was scratched.
It's easy to look at what a No. 1 seed didn't do in a loss, its first of the postseason, and assume it was more self-destruction than a victory for the underdog. But that's been happening throughout these playoffs for Carolina: Never mind the quality of their defense within their own zone; never mind the way the offense pressured Boston with gritty physical play and neutral-zone clogging efficiency; never mind that the penalty kill limited Boston to three recorded shots during four minutes of third-period power-play time.
No, no, no ... it was the Bruins failing and Cam Ward's thievery that decided Game 2, right?
"We needed to rebound strong," said Cam Ward, who stopped 36 shots for his fourth career playoff shutout. "We haven't had much luck against these guys going back to the regular season, and this is a big confidence booster."
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice scrambled the lines in a drastic move that hinted at either courage or desperation, depending on one's perspective, but Carolina's victory had less to do with changes to the lineup and more to do with changes in attitude.
The Canes wanted to deny the Bruins odd-man rushes, and they did a much better job of that.
They didn't want to turn the puck over, and they did a better job of that.
They wanted to get more shots from the blue line, and Corvo started the scoring from there early in the second period.
Can Boston play better? Of course, although the "fat and happy" tag ignores how well Carolina played in Game 2.
But again: Carolina played its game for the first time in this series last night. Ward was great, but so was the support he received in his own zone from a suddenly-sturdy defense, at least for the first two periods.
And yeah, the Bruins looked disjointed and "off" last night. So did the Devils when Carolina played its system well. It happens pretty often: You look up and see Tim Gleason and Dennis Seidenberg dictating terms in the defensive zone, and you're like, "How the hell are we losing to these guys again?"
Then you look up at the scoreboard after 60 minutes and see that, indeed, you lost to these guys again. Underestimate the Hurricanes at your own peril. They're more than just a hot goalie and your own team's foibles.