There has to be a breaking point. There has to be a moment when the NHL and the NHLPA come together and agree that in 2014, with high definition video technology and a War Room that’s able to turn around League-sanctioned decisions within 10 minutes time, there has to be a final check-and-balance available on any play that results in a goal being scored or wiped away.
Niklas Kronwall’s goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night – a shot that hit off the netting behind Jonathan Quick, and then bounced in off the netminder – was the latest farce. A power-play tally at 19:33, it knotted the game and led to the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 shootout victory.
The puck-off-the-netting goal is a non-reviewable play, which is baffling in and of itself. From the NHL, a statement:
At 19:33 of the third period in the Kings/Red Wings game, the puck crossed the Los Angeles goal line and, following a discussion between the four on-ice officials, the referees awarded a goal to Detroit.
Video of the play appears to show the puck hitting the protective mesh above the glass before deflecting off goaltender Jonathan Quick and into the Los Angeles net. While the Situation Room examined the video, this is not a reviewable play therefore the referee's call on the ice stands.
Said Kings Coach Darryl Sutter after the game, via LA Kings Insider:
“That’s embarrassing for the league. That’s what that is. It doesn’t matter if we’d have scored, or if they had scored it. That’s embarrassing.”
And then he speaks even more truth:
“It’s friggin’ embarrassing…What’s the flag? Throw the flag? [Reporters: The challenge flag.] Throw the challenge flag, yeah.”
We’ve long argued in favor of limited coaches’ challenges in the NHL, but that’s a little beside the point here. If the NHL makes the first common sense move – making pucks off the netting that result in goals reviewable – then there’s no need for a coaches’ challenge.
There’s zero reason Kronwall’s goal should have counted. Zero. Unless we’re going to make the net playable. In which case the shot should be worth 10 goals and the entire game should have celebrity skaters and be played on MTV.