DETROIT – Goals have been disallowed in hockey since the dawn of time.
For the most part, NHL referees get the on-ice calls right, but glaring mistakes like Drew Miller’s rebuffed goal in the first period of Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Washington draw a lot of scrutiny.
Fortunately, the blown call didn’t factor in the outcome of the game, but there have been instances throughout the league when disallowed goals, or vice versa, have cost teams in the standings, or worse – in the playoffs.
Miller fired a shot into a wide-open net after Capitals goalie Braden Holtby fell backwards in an attempt to retreat to his crease after playing the puck. However, one of the referees incorrectly assessed a two-minute minor on Luke Glendening for goaltender interference.
“That’s part of the game. Refs make mistakes, players make mistakes,” Glendening said. “It’s just the way it goes. I think our whole line was pretty sad, we’ve all been looking for some points.”
Goalie interference has been a hot-button topic since last June when the NHL competition committee met. Then, some GMs believed video replay would resolve the debate over what constitutes goalie interference.
However, that wasn’t the issue Wednesday at Verizon Center. The problem was that Glendening wasn’t within six feet of the Caps’ goalie when he fell, and replay would have corrected the erroneous call on the ice.
The technology exists in all four major pro leagues in North America – including the NHL – which uses video replay in some form or fashion to get calls on the playing surface right.
Wings coach Mike Babcock would like to see efforts stepped up to insure that the right calls are made all the time.
“When you’re done complaining and whining about it, by the time that’s all done, they can have it right,” Babcock said. “It takes two seconds to get it right. The referee never wants to get it wrong. He doesn’t want to watch the replay for three weeks of him getting it wrong either. He’d rather have it right.”
The Red Wings have been on both sides of the argument many times – both as victims as well as beneficiaries.
Last January, defenseman Niklas Kronwall was credited with a goal with 26 seconds left in regulation when his deflected point shot hit high up in the netting behind the Los Angeles net, then caromed off the back of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and rolled across the goal line.
The play was called a goal on the ice, and the NHL later said in a statement that although “the Situation Room examined the video, this is not a reviewable play therefore the referee’s call on the ice stands.”
Detroit eventually defeated the Kings, 3-2, in a shootout, picking up two valuable points.
An avid fan of the NFL, Wings defenseman Brendan Smith isn’t opposed to using an extended replay or coach’s challenge as part of the NHL’s replay system. It would work similarly to football, with coaches putting their timeout at risk in order to make a challenge. If a team has already used its timeout it cannot challenge.
“It doesn’t matter to me how it works, as long as a disallowed goal is a disallowed goal,” he said. “I guess the biggest word is consistent, right? If you have the video of a challenge you can look at it in slo-motion and see did he actually impede the goalie or did the goalie flop. All of these things are different. You just want to be accurate.”
Babcock added: “In the end (the ref) got it wrong. Last year we scored a goal in here against L.A., it was wrong. But the time we got all this screwing around with we could have got it right. I think the league wants to get it right. I’m not in charge of this stuff and I don’t know how to do it, but I’m sure the league wants to get it right.”
ABBY BEARS DOWN: Justin Abdelkader
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 5 | Assists: 3 | Pts: 8
Shots: 22 | +/-: 4
scored the tying and winning goals in the third period Wednesday to lift Detroit to its first win in the nation’s capital since Dec. 9, 2005, snapping a 0-3-1 skid.
It was Abdelkader’s seventh career game-winning goal and second this season. He also scored the overtime winner against Pittsburgh last Thursday.
Skating on the Red Wings’ top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, Abdelkader also recorded his second three-point game of his NHL career. He had a career-best four-point night, including three goals, in Anaheim on March 22, 2013.
“For me it’s not always going to be goals, points and assist,” said Abdelkader, who has five goals this season, tied with Nyquist for the team lead. “I always have to play the game I’m capable of playing. It’s always a bonus when you can find ways to put pucks in the net and help out offensively. … I’m 27 years old. I’ve been in the league for some year’s now. I’m comfortable with my role and I know how to play night in and night out.”
BIG, BAD KINGS: The Kings will likely be without center Anze Kopitar when they take on the Red Wings Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Despite the absence of their team captain, the Kings are humming right along, especially the wickedly hot ‘That’s 70’s Line’ of Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. The trio has produced a combined 17 goals and 34 points in nine games.
Babcock said he knows what to expect from Carter, whom he coached on Canada’s last Olympic team that won gold last February in Russia.
“He can play with and without the puck. He’s got a bomb of a shot. He scores for fun,” Babcock said. “I didn’t know who Toffoli was to tell you the truth, I didn’t know him that good, but every time I see him he’s shooting it. And Pearson seems to be a real good player. Those are guys I don’t know real good. I’ll get to know them better.”