Game 6 was an utter travesty if you are a Nashville Predators fan. The Predators delivered their home crowd a hard-fought battle. The Predators scratched and clawed, and even scored a goal that did not show up on the scoresheet.
The controversial no goal in Game 6 ended up costing the Predators in a major way. If you missed it, here is the video replay:
The biggest error on this play is the positioning of the referee on the ice. If there is a mad scramble in front of the net, it is important for the on-ice official to stand behind the net to try and track the puck.
Referees Kevin Pollock and Dan O’Halloran were nowhere near behind the net or around the net. Both referees blew the whistle early and they lost sight of the puck.
While some might argue that crowd noise can become a factor, on-ice officials are trained to tune the crowd noise out. Crowd noise is a nonfactor when it comes to getting in to proper positioning on the ice.
In the NHL rulebook, a goal scored cannot be challenged if a referee blows the whistle early and blows the play dead if he loses sight of the puck. In this horrible case for Nashville, the Predators could only use their challenge for goaltender interference or offside.
After this incident, which cost Nashville significantly, the NHL should likely revise the rulebook and make a few changes. The NHL war room could have likely seen that the puck was still loose in front of the Penguins net and they could have recognized that the referees on the ice blew their whistles too early.
THE SWING OF MOMENTUM
A goal scored in the Stanley Cup Final is major for any club. If Nashville goes up 1-0 and strikes first in the game, momentum would have likely swung their way.
Momentum is something that is often overlooked by many fans. Any goal scored on the ice tilts the momentum in the favor for the team that scores the goal. If Nashville’s goal that was overturned counted like it should have, would the Penguins have still won Game 6? That scenario is unknown. Fans should consider the momentum scenarios if Nashville’s first goal counts in the game.
It is important for officiating to get these calls right on the ice. I am in favor of extended replays to get the calls right on the ice. If the war room in Toronto has enough video evidence to overturn a referee’s “quick whistle,” Toronto should be able to do so.
The NHL has a good amount of video and audio at their disposal to tell if the whistle blows too early and they have enough cameras to see if a puck is still loose in front of the net.
There is no excuse for the NHL referees or Toronto war room to make costly mistakes that can decide outcomes of games. Any goal that is scored is critical, whether it is in a regular season game or the Stanley Cup Final game.
The NHL needs to adjust the rules a little bit and they need to make them up-to-date with the current times.
By: George Foussekis