Something didn't sound right to referee Rob Shick after an overtime shot by Sergei Fedorov of the Detroit Red Wings appeared to hit the crossbar behind Minnesota North Stars goaltender Jon Casey in Game 6 of the Norris Division Semifinals.
Fedorov picked up the puck in the neutral zone, broke in alone on Casey and shot. The puck beat Casey cleanly at 16:13 of overtime, but as far as everyone in the building was concerned, it hit the crossbar and came back out.
Everyone, that is, but Shick, who had been racing to catch up with the play.
"It was a quick break," he said of that game, played April 28, 1992. "I was probably just getting out of the [defensive] zone, and I might have been at the blue line or between the blue line and the red line. Fedorov went in and I saw the shot … I saw the puck and I heard a clunk. The puck comes out, they played a little bit and then a guy iced it.
"Nobody on the ice said anything. Nobody said a word, there was nothing going on. We went to face off and just before we did, one of the linesmen and I kind of looked at each other, and I went, "That didn't sound right. It wasn't like a ping off the post. It was more of a clunk.
Video: Memories: Fedorov's OT winner upheld by video review
That clunk wound up making history. A few minutes later, the Red Wings had a series-tying 1-0 victory at Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the first Stanley Cup Playoff game to be decided by a video review in overtime.
The 1991-92 season was the first when the NHL used video review for goal/nongoal calls. But the procedure was nothing like the current Situation Room setup with each team able to access video and coaches able to challenge. Back then, Shick said, he was the one who made the call to review.
Of his experience with video review during the regular season, Shick said: "Not a whole lot. We were still in the one-referee system, so basically it was the video goal judge who sat up in the replay booth. But that game happened to be in the playoffs, and Wally Harris was the series manager. He was the guy who was with me on the headset when I called upstairs. "I skated over to the penalty box and picked up the phone and I called Wally and I said, 'Wally, did you get a look at that?' He said, 'Get a look at what?' I said, 'On that breakaway, why don't you rewind the tape and have a look?' He goes, 'Just a minute.' And they rewound the tape … and sure enough, it was in."
The tape showed the puck had hit a metal bar inside the net and quickly rebounded back onto the ice; it was unquestionably a goal. Shick knew the game was over. Now he had to tell the Red Wings, the North Stars -- and the Minnesota fans.
"I called the two captains over to the referee's crease and they didn't know quite what was going on," he said. "I said to [Detroit captain Steve] Yzerman, 'You win,' and I said to the other guy, 'You lose, I'm out of here,' because I knew what was going to happen because it was a packed house. "Sure enough, they announce that it was goal. I remember Sergei Fedorov sitting on the boards by his bench. I think he knew it was in, but nobody else had seen it. I remember the fans were so angry that they started throwing stuff at Wally up in the replay booth, and I got out of Dodge."
The victory evened the series at 3-3, and the Red Wings' 5-2 win at Joe Louis Arena two nights later moved them into the division final.
But the way Game 6 was decided proved to be an indicator of things to come.
"That was the first time when somebody went, 'Wow, this is going to make a difference in our game,'" said Shick, now an NHL officiating manager. "At the end of the day, we got the right call, and I think that's what anybody would ever ask."