Fraser: Leafs-Coyotes shootout exposed flaws in replay system


Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser says last night’s controversial shootout in Toronto highlighted two major problems with the NHL’s video review system.

The goal in question came during James van Riemsdyk’s shootout attempt on Phoenix’s Mike Smith — even though there was no definitive call on the ice and video replay failed to confirm the puck crossed the line, van Riemsdyk was awarded a goal.

Here are Fraser’s issues with the call:

Video review must clearly see the puck across the goal line with an unobstructed view before they will verify a goal. The evidence must be unequivocal! If this can’t be achieved video review personnel render an ‘inconclusive’ verdict even in cases where it appears logical that the puck would have crossed the line.
The referee, on the other hand, as we saw demonstrate on this call, allowed a goal to stand by applying logic, common sense and the power of deduction to determine that in his judgment the puck had crossed the goal line.

My recommendation is to provide the referee with the authority to review controversial goals at ice level (including goalkeeper interference) and have the final authority and judgment in these matters. The optics on JVR’s ultimate goal determination looked ridiculous!

Referee [Rob] Martell (and Paul Devorski) did not make a decision on the play in real time. Martell then spent several minutes communicating through a head set and staring into space. Following the inconclusive review verdict, Referee Martell was forced to render a final decision – one that he was unable or unwilling to make in real time!

The Refs are supposed to make a call one way or the other in real time; let them also make the final decision through the video review process.

Here’s a replay of the incident:

Note that none of the on-ice officials make any sort of definitive “good goal” signal — in fact, there doesn’t appear to be any signal at all, something Smith confirmed following the game.

“He came and whispered it in my ear like ‘it’s a goal,’ and he didn’t really give a signal that it was,” Smith said, as per “He made the call, he said he saw it go in. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes.”

The NHL offered a brief explanation of the call via its Situation Room blog, saying that “video review was inconclusive” and that “therefore, the referee’s call on the ice stands.”

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.