SOCHI, Russia – The partisan crowd in the Sochi Olympics’ main ice arena roared. The Russian players were celebrating at their bench. Defenseman Fedor Tyutin had broken a 2-2 tie with the Americans, with just over 3 minutes left in the game.
But the goal hadn’t been posted to the scoreboard.
The on-ice officials were conferring in the corner of the offensive zone.
Television cameras were focused on the right post of goalie Jonathan Quick’s net, pointed at what looked like a Twizzler on steroids snaked between the post and the ice.
His cage had slipped off its mooring. The goal then slipped away from the Russians, as the referee confirmed through video review.
Dan Bylsma wasn’t told what happened. The broadcaster booths weren’t sure what happened.
The players were in the dark; said Team USA’s David Backes, “I’m still looking for the explanation. I still don’t know if it was a high stick or net went off the mooring or God went in there and stopped it, I’m not sure.”
But Pavel Datsyuk said the officials clued him in: “The referee just told me the net was moved before the shot, and that’s why he disallowed the goal.”
As the IIHF Rule 471A, Section 5 states:
“If the goal net has been displaced from its normal position, or the frame of the goal net is not completely flat on the ice.”
Quick said he wasn’t sure what happened with the post. “I didn’t know if it happened after the puck went in,” he said. “I saw it was off. I didn’t know if it was before the puck went in – right after they scored, a guy skated through the crease. I didn’t know if he bumped it.”
In fact, it was Quick that bumped the post, making a save to his left on an Evgeni Malkin chance and dislodging the post in the process.
Had this been the NHL, it’s a goal.
From the NHL Rulebook:
“The goal frame shall be considered in its proper position when at least a portion of the flexible peg(s) are still inside both the goal post and the hole in the ice. The flexible pegs could be bent, but as long at least a portion of the flexible peg(s) are still in the hole in the ice and the goal post, the goal frame shall be deemed to be in its proper position. The goal frame could be raised somewhat on one post (or both), but as long as the flexible pegs are still in contact with the holes in the ice and the goal posts, the goal frame shall not be deemed to be displaced.”
But it’s not the NHL. So it wasn’t a goal.
There’s another issue with the Tyutin no-goal. The referees didn’t notice the net was off until the goal was scored. This is problematic.
“This question is to the referees: Was the net dislodged, and why it was dislodged? Why didn’t they notice it earlier?” asked defenseman Slava Voynov.
He knows Quick well, as his teammate with the Los Angeles Kings. Too well, maybe, because he said after the game that Quick may have dislodged the net on purpose.
“I can tell you myself, because I am his teammate and I play with him. It is in his style to do something like that. Yes,” he said. “The question is why wasn’t it noticed? That’s the question to the referees.”
Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said in his postgame press conference that the referees should have seen Quick knock the goal off the mooring, and that he did it on purpose. "I do believe there was a mistake," he said.
Had the referees ruled Quick dislodged the net on purpose, he would have been given a minor penalty, and the Russians would have had a late third-period power play. Whether what Quick did warranted that punishment is probably determined by where your national pride falls.
And judging by Russian fans’ reactions, they aren’t letting go of this anytime soon. Said one tweet: “This referee took away Russia’s victory. We will remember this face.”
Additional reporting by Dmitry Chesnokov/Puck Daddy