Hockey is a sport in which every little goal can be important, considering how tough they truly are to come by (unless you happen to be Corey Perry, apparently). Referee Dan O’Halloran decided that Marian Hossa’s goal was legitimate – meaning that the puck crossed the red line and that Hossa’s stick touched the puck after he kicked it – and the NHL’s review room in Toronto couldn’t find enough evidence to overturn his decision.
That goal cut the St. Louis Blues’ lead in half, making the score 2-1. Getting that tally lit a fire under the desperate Chicago Blackhawks, who ended up winning the game thanks to a Jonathan Toews overtime goal.
Ty Conklin was in net for the Blues when that controversial call was made and – to little surprise – he was more than a bit peeved by the review process. One must wonder if he might even be at risk of earning a fine from the NHL for his surprisingly candid critique of the league’s decision. Conklin almost stepped in conspiracy theory territory, as you can see from this story via CSN Chicago.
“They called it a goal on the ice, which is fine, that’s understandable. But the reason we have video replay is to get the right call. They’re probably going to make it into the playoffs anyway, but do we really have to make it that obvious that the league wants them in?” he said. “It was a close play, but the puck never crossed the line.”
If you want a snapshot of how much the Blues and Blackhawks dislike each other, that quote is an excellent example.
While the NHL’s system of handing out suspensions and fines draws plenty of mockery and criticism, the league’s goal review process seems just as nebulous. The league’s war room almost seems like a shadowy organization, even if they aren’t do anything more nefarious than deciding for or against goals.
Many people (including myself) would like to see more transparency in the decision making process, but TSN’s Darren Dreger indicates that the league is striving to improve things with a more literal type of transparency. Simply put, they want to change nets to make it easier to see if a puck crosses the goal line or not.
Camera angles, poor video quality and obstructed views have always plagued video review.
There have multiple proposals considered to improve this process, but the league seems focused on the nets and changes that can be introduced to increase visibility.
In addition to testing a thinner mesh on the top of the nets, the National Hockey League will also be changing the ribbon that essentially protects skates from hitting the base of the net.
The existing ribbon that wraps around the base is white, but will be replaced this summer at the research and development camp by a clear band which will extend three feet back of the goal line from each post.
People want a more open process, but let’s face it, we might not get that any time soon (if ever). I’m on board with the tweaks Dreger mentioned, along with the research and development camp’s proposals of adding a plexiglass top to the net and yellow line behind the goal line to make it easier to tell when goals are scored.
These changes won’t always make the Conklins of the world happy, but then again, will a goalie ever really be happy when a goal is allowed?
Finally, here’s video of that much-debated goal, for your own debating purposes.