Former ref would have allowed non-goal that drove Boudreau mad

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In the grand scheme of things, the Anaheim Ducks are so far out of the West playoff picture that a disallowed goal against the Boston Bruins mattered most in that it absolutely drove Bruce Boudreau bonkers. (Angry Boudreau = entertained onlookers.)

TSN’s readers picked former official Kerry Fraser’s brain on the subject, who ultimately believes that the goal should have counted.

Fraser first stated that while contact in the crease isn’t the only standard for a disallowed goal, he had some qualms with the way rule 69.1 was set up:

When this mandate was imposed following the most recent GM meetings in Florida, I said that it would not work effectively. I provided what I thought was logical assumptions and referenced examples from game situations that had been ruled upon. One most obvious example as to why long distance calls seldom work came from a San Jose goal scored in OT that was disallowed by the back referee at the red line when he ruled incidental contact had been made with Calgary goalkeeper, Miikka Kiprusoff. The contact clearly came from Kipper’s own player Olli Jokinen and not Sharks forward Tommy Wingels as the ref suspected.

Given the depth perception that results when a linesman views the play from a distance as close as 65 feet or the other referee as far back as 95 feet at the red line it is unrealistic to expect a more accurate decision could be rendered than from the official on the goal line 15 feet away. There are often times the low ref does require accurate information to make this call as we have seen but it is unlikely to come through an on-ice conference as the mandate provides. Last night’s decision that resulted in a Ducks goal being disallowed is further evidence of this.

Even with the flaws of opening things up to human error in mind, Fraser said that he would have allowed the goal to stand, which was obviously not the case (to Boudreau’s chagrin).

Since Marty Turco was content with the position he assumed within his goal crease I would have allowed the goal to stand just like the referee on the goal line. In this case, with Anaheim 11 points out of a playoff spot it might appear as though it just water off a Duck’s back. Good luck trying to convince coach Bruce Boudreau of that!

So, hey, Bruce – there’s at least one referee on your side. Unfortunately, he’s writing columns and not making calls …

What is wrong with the Sharks?

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Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

Their struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.

Video: Friday night fights between Bolts and Red Wings

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Not much offense — actually, just one goal midway through the second period as of the writing of this post — between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

But there has definitely been some animosity between the two clubs.

Tempers flared late in the first period, with Adam Erne and Andreas Athanasiou getting involved in a spirited scrap — and Athanasiou unsuccessful in his attempt at the take-down.

The bad blood continued in the second period with Greg McKegg and Anthony Mantha getting involved in a fight, and Mantha — given the instigator — landing a couple of shots with McKegg on the ice.

 

NHL, MLB player unions support U.S. women hockey players’ boycott

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Unions representing NHL and Major League Baseball players are backing U.S. Women’s National Hockey team players’ decision to boycott next week’s world championships because of a wage dispute.

The NHL Players’ Association posted a note on its Twitter account on Friday saying it supports the U.S. players while panning USA Hockey’s bid to stock the team with replacements. The NHLPA says the decision to go with replacement players “would only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse.”

Earlier in the day, the MLB Players Association encouraged all women hockey players to stand united behind their national team colleagues.

Read more: USA Hockey says it will not offer living wage, as dispute with women’s national team continues

The Twitter messages were posted a day after USA Hockey announced it would begin gauging interest of replacement players to compete at the tournament, which opens next Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period.