Flames playoff hopes crushed by controversial call, fall to Ducks 4-2


Here’s the scene: the Calgary Flames trail 2-1 in the 2nd period of the most important game of their 82 game season. If they can find a way to beat the visiting Anaheim Ducks, they’ll pull to within a single point of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Flames put the puck towards the net and a huge scrum ensues—Flames players are celebrating what they believe is a goal and Ducks players are insisting there’s no goal. If it’s ruled a goal, the Flames even the score at 2-2 in their must-win game. Make no mistake about it; this the biggest moment in the biggest game in Calgary’s rollercoaster year.

The call from Gord Dwyer is “no goal” on the ice; therefore the boys in Toronto must find indisputable evidence that the puck crosses the line. Here’s the replay of the goal and the reaction from the Calgary Flames closest to the action after the game.

One of the best parts about this situation was the differing opinions on the different networks. The Ducks broadcast and analysts insisted that the puck was never visible and there was no way the league could rule it as a legal goal. On the TSN feed in Canada, the analysts thought they could see the puck and it was clearly across the line. Whether the puck is in the net or not, Ryan Getzlaf certainly doesn’t help the Ducks’ pleas of innocence. As the puck is sitting on his own goaltender, it appears as though he grabs the puck, falls into the goal (while closing his hand on the puck), then shifts it out and into the scrum without raising any suspicions from the officials on the ice. If the puck never crossed the line, then Getzlaf made sure there wouldn’t be evidence to the contrary. If the puck did cross the line, then the line: “if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying” quickly comes to mind. Regardless, this is where people will say he made a “savvy, veteran play.”

The play cost the Flames dearly. After a lengthy delay, the Ducks scored another goal before the end of the 2nd period to go up 3-1 into the 2nd intermission. The final score ended up 4-2, but the game was pretty much over after 40 minutes.

This is where we throw it to the readers: Should this goal have counted or did the NHL officials in Toronto get this important call right?

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”