Let’s start, in an unconventional way, with the press conference. The entire press conference by Tampa manager Jon Cooper after Nazem Kadri’s winner at 12:02 in extra time that put the Avalanche ahead 3-1 in the finals. It was just a long question: a bizarrely rambling answer that started with Cooper gushing about how much he loves the NHL and ended in a cryptic refusal to talk about the goal of winning for reasons, Cooper hinted at, that they would soon become. clear. Ominous! If you haven’t already read what the bee put in Cooper’s hood, you’d be hard pressed to contextualize a bit of this answer. It might even be a fun game for you – try to guess what the hell he’s talking about.
OK, now Kadri’s goal. It was a bit odd, for reasons entirely unrelated to the actual controversy. Kadri, on his return from thumb surgery after an injury in Game 3 of the conference final, jumped off the bench, made a pass on the blue line, split defenders and hit one through an incredibly small gap. in the armor of Andrei Vasilevskiy. And no one noticed because the disc seemed to have evaporated.
But no, he was there, sitting atop his little shelf, safe in the net, and a hard-fought Game 4 was that of Colorado. “This is what I’ve been waiting for all my life,” Kadri said.
Any drama lost in the delayed celebration was certainly made up for by Cooper’s dark implications. Those who watched were bewildered: the goal looked like an excellent goal, certainly safer than the first goal of the evening in Tampa on an unmasked Darcy Kuemper (which was also a good goal, it must be said).
It soon became clear that Tampa believed that Colorado had scored the winner of the match with six skaters on the ice, and should have been overruled and a too many man penalty assessed. Let’s take a look at our patented Defector MegaZoom ™. Count the AVS:
In fact, it’s six Avalanche skaters on the ice as Kadri approaches the top of the circle, with Nathan MacKinnon on the right leaving, but not leaving, the ice. Kadri was replacing MacKinnon with the gearbox, and the Lightning’s believe Kadri jumped up too soon.
“They were able to get an interesting change to the goal of the win, and that was the difference,” said Tampa assistant coach Derek Lalonde. “It will get ugly. We are probably talking about a 50 foot gearbox. Obviously, Kadri changed for MacKinnon. That’s a pretty bad look. Unfortunately, we are at the bad end. “
Here’s the thing: this is a line change. A normal line change. Nobody waits for the skaters to come down before going up. I am reluctant to use the “not booed in a playoff game” construction, as this may imply that the no-call is solely a function of the referees swallowing their whistles in the postseason, so I will simply say that it doesn’t t be. even booed in a regular season game.
Too many men are, like every call in hockey except offside (a problem for another day), called to the spirit and not to the letter of the law. This is good! You don’t want to blow the whistle every time a team has six skaters on the ice during a change. You would be deaf to all whistles. If they called the law literally, well, look at the screenshot above again: Tampa, making their own change, had seven skaters.
Under the spirit of the law, Kadri jumped on the ice after MacKinnon retired from the game. No, MacKinnon wasn’t five feet off the bench, but that’s basically a hint. And there was plenty of time for Tampa to pick up and put a body on Kadri – they just didn’t.
NHL hockey operations released a post-game statement pointing out that these calls are functionally dependent on the referees, not the rules, and the referees saw what they saw.
A penalty of too many men on the ice is a judgment that can be made by any of the four referees on the ice.
After the game, hockey operations met with the four officers as per their normal protocol. In discussing the goal of victory, each of the four referees warned that they did not see too many men on the ice situation during the game.
This call is not subject to video review by either Hockey Ops or ice officials.
I understand the frustration of Tampa. It is a fairly fluid rule that if it went against me in such a crucial situation, I would feel more unfairly persecuted than Jesus himself. But I’m not Tampa! I’m just a hockey blogger with no horses in the game, and the NHL where that’s a good goal is better than an NHL where it’s not.