San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan ticked down the goalie interference calls against his team this season. The one vs. Buffalo. The one vs. Winnipeg. The one in which the Minnesota Wild scored and the goal stood despite apparent goalie interference.
So he went a little bonkers after it happened again, in his eyes, against the Nashville Predators on Monday night: Roman Josi scoring the game-winner, with forward Colin Wilson laying on top of Antti Niemi’s leg.
Referee Mike Hasenfratz (Gesundheit!) claimed that Marc-Edouard Vlasic pushed Wilson into Niemi. You make the call:
Said McLellan, after the 3-2 loss to Nashville, to the Mercury News:
"That's a blown call," McLellan said. "Even if there was a touch of contact there, you're not allowed to jump on top of the goaltender. We all know that."
“We’ve played 44 games,” he said. “I go back to the Buffalo blown call in overtime, I go back to the blown call in Winnipeg, I go to one in Minnesota and I go to the one tonight. That’s one in every 11 games.
“I understand mistakes because I make a lot of them behind the bench,” he continued. “But when you get an explanation from a group of people and it didn’t happen, it’s disappointing. It really is disappointing.
“There’s also protocol to follow in our league and that protocol is you get together and you discuss it and that didn’t happen either. Obviously I’m not very happy with it.”
Nor should he be happy about it. Nor should anyone. Even if you think this was on Vlasic, you have to admit it’s at least a borderline call – and one that resulted in a game-winning goal.
So once more, with feeling: COACH’S CHALLENGES.
It’s picked up steam among NHL power brokers, and we hope it continues to. Goalie interference is a call that can be easily evaluated and verified. (Or, if the evidence is inconclusive, you go with the call on the ice.) But it’s a call that can be the difference between a win or a loss, as it might have been for the Sharks last night.
The inconsistent enforcement of standards (hi Tim Peel) or the officials’ inability to make the correct call due to the speed and angles of the play … all of it speaks to the need for a secondary check on the call, and video review provides it.
Ease it in with video reviews of high-sticking double-minors, and then move it over to goalie interference. Limit it, focus it and make it so, NHL.