Sharks’ Vlasic looking for apology from NHL

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Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is looking for an apology from the NHL.

Why is he looking for an apology? Well, there’s probably two reasons for this.

First, he felt like icing should’ve been called moments before Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie scored in Game 2 to give Colorado a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Secondly, he might be a little annoyed because the NHL made a point to apologize to the Vegas Golden Knights after they handed the Sharks a five-minute power-play in Game 7 of their first-round series.

But does Vlasic have a case here?

As you can tell from the above video, Vlasic and Avs forward Mikko Rantanen are racing back into Sharks territory for the loose puck. Vlasic beats Rantanen to the dots, but that isn’t the criteria for judging icing.

Here’s what rule 81 in the NHL rulebook has to say about icing:

The Linesman must first determine that the puck will cross the goal line. Once the Linesman determines that the puck will cross the goal line, icing is completed upon the determination as to which player (attacking or defending) would first touch the puck. This decision by the Linesman will be made by no later than the instant the first player reaches the end zone faceoff dots with the player’s skate being the determining factor.

The “would first touch the puck” part is the key here. Being the first player to the dot doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the call will go your way. If we apply the rule in this case, it’s still a close call but the official decides to give Rantanen the benefit of the doubt because he’s getting to the dots with a full head of steam.

“It was the exact same as the icing here the other night, when [Erik] Karlsson had the inside track on [J.T.] Compher,” Avs head coach Jared Bednar said after the game, per ESPN. “They’re in a race. They blow it down for icing because Karlsson had the inside path. To me, on this one, I’m watching Mikko [Rantanen] go up the ice, he’s got a head of steam, he’s getting to the right area, he’s got the inside path on Vlasic on the post. It looks to me like Mikko’s going to get their first, so they let it go. To me, it’s similar plays: The guy on the inside got the call. One was against us. One was in our favor.”

Whether you agree with the call or not, you can’t dispute that this is a judgement call that needs to be made in a split second. Whatever happens below the dots almost becomes irrelevant because the call needs to be made once the players get to the dot on the ice. At that moment, the official decided that Rantanen was close enough to negate the icing.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.