Oh how we love manic Jack Edwards!
The Boston Bruins voice was in fine form on Saturday night, in their game at the Columbus Blue Jackets, as a Dougie Hamilton shot hit the netting behind goalie Curtis McElhaney. The puck bounced back into play and it continued until Matt Calvert scored at 19:09 of the second period.
“IT HIT THE BACK NETTING!”
“IT HIT LIKE A TRAMPOLINE!”
“THIS DOESN’T EXIST! THIS IS QUANTUM PHYSICS HOCKEY FOLKS!”
(Goal scores) “IT WON’T COUNT! THIS GOAL WILL NOT COUNT!”
“THIS IS UTTERLY RIDICULOUS!”
“THIS IS UNBELIABLE THAT THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE HAS ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN!!!!”
“THEY’RE JUST GOING TO TURN THEIR BACKS ON IT!”
“START THE KALIOPE MUSIC! THIS IS A CIRCUS!”
Let’s start with the obvious: Jack Edwards was right. The on-ice officials completely blew the call.
Let’s see: Player shoots puck. Puck disappears from play. Puck returns to playing surface from an angle well above the goal cage, as if it had been dropped by a stork. It didn’t hit a post or the glass. And yet four men paid to follow the puck … did not.
But his larger point is a little more problematic.
“They can review this and they can correct the situation,” said Edwards.
The NHL disagrees, as it wrote in a statement last night:
“At 17:43 of the second period in the Boston Bruins/Columbus Blue Jackets game, the puck appeared to hit the spectator netting in the Columbus zone and play continued until the Blue Jackets scored a goal at 19:09.
“According to Rule 85.1, play shall be stopped when the puck hits the spectator netting unless it goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials, in which case ‘play shall continue as normal and resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.’ Since play continued and the puck was not directed into the net as an immediate result of hitting the spectator netting, this is not a reviewable play and the on-ice decision stands - good goal Columbus.”
You can understand Jack’s confusion.
The thing that NHL says it addressed in that rule tweak was the thing we saw in that Detroit vs. Los Angeles game back in January, when the puck went off the netting and then off the back of Jonathan Quick and into the net. Apparently since the Bruins’ situation didn’t directly lead to a goal … well, it counts.
Edwards was apparently under the impression that a puck off the netting was akin to the officials missing a goal, where they rewind the clock to the point the goal is scored.
And that confusion is understandable when you read about the NHL expanding its video goal review “to allow broader discretion to Hockey Operations to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g., to ensure they are ‘good hockey goals’).”
And that confusion is understandable when you think about how sound, logical and sane it would be for the NHL to use its expanded video review to ensure that a puck that left the playing surface doesn’t bounce back in and eventually get put in the net. Again, this would be the right way to use video review. Eh, maybe next round of rule tweaks...
Unless they want to make the netting inbounds, which would be stupid but completely fun. Sorta like the shootout.