After the mess that ensued in the wake of referee Dennis LaRue’s brutal incompetence last night in Detroit, the NHL had to step up and explain themselves especially since Toronto phoned the officials to find out why, exactly, Brad May wasn’t being awarded a goal. The man under Commissioner Gary Bettman’s roof asked to take the media hit for this is NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy who had an explanation released today on the NHLs website.
Let’s break this one down, shall we?
“In this particular case what happened is we (in the League’s video replay room in Toronto) see the puck in the net and call the video goal judge and say, ‘Blow the horn and get the referee over here. We see a puck in the net that hasn’t been ruled a goal,’ ” Murphy said. “At that point the referee comes over and we have a discussion. They came to us and said, ‘My intent to blow the whistle was there, I have this play dead before the puck crosses the goal line,’ No more needs to be said. Once we hear that, video review is out of the process. It’s a call made on the ice and it’s a non-reviewable call. It’s a whistle blown by the referee and it was blown or the intent to blow it was before the puck crossed the goal line.”
Now, if you missed out on the play, just check the previous post here for the YouTube video or just go straight to YouTube to see it yourself. I say this because checking out the video is key here because the official says he intended to blow the play dead before the puck is even in the net.
Really, is that what we’re looking to do there Dennis? Because if that’s what you’re doing there you’re an even bigger idiot because then play is still going on since… That’s exactly what was going on before the puck went in the net. This isn’t a situation where the puck was trapped under Alex Auld’s pads and it’s a goal-mouth scramble to try and stuff in a rebound. If it was like that, his excuse would be marginally acceptable.
But that wasn’t the case at all. Moving on…
“The way we have always handled it is the referees call on the ice stands. He sees the shot and he sees the save and doesn’t see the puck in the net and he blows the whistle,” Murphy said. “It’s not when he blows the whistle, it’s when he intends to blow the whistle. In this case Dennis was clear with what he saw and what he interpreted and that is, ‘I had killed the play before the puck went into the net.’ I think we would all concede the puck was in the net, but Dennis didn’t see that unfortunately.”
And boom, just like that the NHL pulls the rug out from under Dennis LaRue. You could say that they’re taking Dennis out fishing in the morning the same way Michael Corleone did with his brother Fredo. Or if analogies and metaphors are your thing, the league has thrown him under the bus. Considering what I said last night about how I figured this situation would go down, this is a stunning turn of events on its own. I sincerely doubt LaRue gets treatment any harsher than this from the league or head of officiating Terry Gregson. Why? Well…
“In all cases we want to get the right call. In this case it is clear we didn’t,” Murphy said. “In some cases when you have video review people expect perfection and that’s never the case. There are times when we don’t want video review to intercede. We don’t want video review refereeing a game.”
Whoa, hang on… Time out here. This entire statement is full of gigantic magnanimous flaws. First of all, instant replay was instituted to get things to be as close to perfect as possible and asking players and fans alike for perfection out of the system, I think, isn’t asking a lot. All you have to do is look to see if puck crossed line. That’s a simple thing to do given this particular set of circumstances, yet the NHL leaves the door open for the human element of the matter to screw things up with terrible reasoning.
Isn’t the purpose of having a war room in Toronto watching everything to make sure everything is called correctly? After all, if they don’t want video review to referee the games why does the league do video review of the referees work to make sure they aren’t completely terrible at their jobs? Again, the league makes it look like they’re saying a lot when they’re really just saying, “Yeah, we fucked up and there’s nothing that can be done about it other than throwing one of our guys under the bus.”
Incompetence – The NHL has it.