NEW YORK – On a night of baffling officiating at times, Mike Babcock was sufficiently baffled.
“First, I don’t understand that.”
“That” in this instance was the stick to the face of defenseman Danny DeKeyser that dropped him to the ice after slicing his cheek. The stick was in the hands of the Rangers’ Carl Hagelin, who made contact with DeKeyser in front of referee Steve Kozari.
Literally right in front of Kozari.
In a “How do you possibly miss that?” kind of way:
“We should have been on a four-minute power play in the third period. That was obvious. But what do you do?” asked Babcock.
And the other thing he didn’t understand about the performance of Kozari and partner Tim Peel?
“The other night, we scored in overtime. Where did we score in overtime when Mule was in the crease?” he asked.
NHL Rule 69.3 states:
If an attacking player establishes a significant position within the goal crease, so as to obstruct the goalkeeper’s vision and impair his ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. For this purpose, a player “establishes a significant position within the crease” when, in the Referee’s judgment, his body, or a substantial portion thereof, is within the goal crease for more than an instantaneous period of time.
“Disallowed goal, right? Because of establishing in the crease? Well, anyone got a replay on those great phones you got on that goal tonight?” Babcock asked the media.
He was speaking in reference to Derick Brassard’s overtime game-winner on Wednesday night.
Babcock’s issue was with Rick Nash being inside of Jonas Gustavsson’s crease:
The difference of course being that Nash was out of the crease when the goal was scored, unlike with Franzen in Buffalo. But Babcock felt his presence was enough to potentially nullify the goal, as it did for the Wings against Buffalo.
“That’s gotta be the same,” he said. “So I want the second point, or they shouldn’t get a point. I don’t know how it works.”
Frustrating as it was, the night wasn’t a total loss for the Red Wings. They overcame an underwhelming opening 10 minutes to rally twice against the Rangers, from down 2-0 and then to tie the game on a Tomas Tatar goal with 7.7 seconds left. They showed fight deep into the game, despite having played the night before in Ottawa.
But hoo, boy, was it a bumpy ride for Peel and Kozari. They missed an obvious dive on Gustavsson, calling a goalie interference penalty on Dominic Moore (who did make contact). They missed the Hagelin high-stick. They missed a Dan Cleary goal that had to be later confirmed by the war room. They made a complete hash out of a late third-period sequence in which Marty St. Louis hooked Justin Abdelkader and Abdelkader embellished – the penalties had Abdelkader off for hooking and Marc Staal of the Rangers off for diving, after he fell over a sliding Abdelkader.
St. Louis had to inform the officials they had the wrong player, and he was still hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was meant for the Red Wing.
(The penalties were corrected after the game.)
Finally, the Rangers won on a power-play goal after Pavel Datsyuk went off for tripping St. Louis; a good call in my opinion, although the Red Wings didn't share that view.
“Tough call on Pavel in overtime. I really didn’t like that call at all,” said Cleary.
His coach agreed.
“I didn’t like being shorthanded in overtime. But that’s the way it goes,” said Babcock.
More NHL coverage on Yahoo Sports: