NHL Review System needs an Overhaul

“After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that the actions of Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse caused Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler to contact Talbot before the puck crossed the goal line. The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7 (ii) which states, in part, “that the goal on the ice should have been allowed because (ii) the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper.”

That was the NHL’s decision to allow the Ducks to tie the game with 15 seconds remaining.

There is no doubt Nurse pushed Kesler into the crease. Everyone agrees on that, but it seems those in the NHL’s situation room believe once you are pushed into the crease all bets are off.

It is the only logical explanation, because how else can you explain the league allowing Kesler to hold Talbot’s pad, which clearly restricted him from getting up?

I can’t.

The only other explanation is that those reviewing it didn’t see it, similar to the Hockey Night panel. The original response from Ron Maclean, Nick Kypreos and Kelly Hrudey was they all thought it was a good goal. They only changed their tune after Elliott Friedman pointed out Kesler’s grab.

I was watching the game with three of my friends, and on the first replay every one of us said, “look at Kesler grab the pad.”

We thought it was rather obvious, but those in charge of the video review didn’t.

Considering how quickly they ruled it a goal. I believe there is a good chance they were so focused on Nurse pushing/contacting Kesler into the crease that they missed the obvious pad grab.

That can’t happen. If they take seven to ten minutes in a regular season game in December to review a goal, why are they suddenly making a decision in record time in May, in a massively important playoff game?

For me, this is a systematic issue, not a referee issue.

I thought the game was called quite well. I wouldn’t expect the officials to catch the pad grab in real time, because they didn’t have the luxury of an overhead camera angle. However, the review process allowed them a different angle. And from the above angle, it was clear Kesler’s hand was inside the top of the pad for an extended period of time and there was one motion where he seemed to pull the pad.

I believe officiating the game in real-time is extremely difficult, but the review process should not be this confusing.

My main concern is I doubt the NHL truly wants to fix it.

The National Football League has similar issues with determining what is a catch or not. It has been going on for years, and if the biggest sports league in North America is okay with having mass confusion on deciphering what is a catch, I’m certain the NHL will remain equally inept in finding consistency on goaltender interference.

I don’t believe this is a conspiracy against Edmonton, instead it illustrates the utter incompetence of the NHL’s review process. They clearly believe the original infraction overrules any subsequent actions.

There is no doubt Nurse pushed Kesler in the crease, but Nurse did not make Kesler grab Talbot’s pad. Each action is separate, yet based on their decision last night it is clear the NHL operations staff doesn’t see it this way.

And I guarantee it won’t be solved over the summer. The NHL will do their usual review. They will hold meetings, and smile at the camera and say they are working to improve replays, but their past history proves they prefer to have controversy and inconsistency when it comes to video review.


  • I applaud Todd McLellan’s ability to remain calm and poised on the bench and in his post-game presser. McLellan had to remain calm, externally anyway, once the call was made. The game was tied and OT was looming. He did not want his team to unravel, and it worked. The Oilers controlled the first OT, but couldn’t score. After the game he didn’t complain, instead he complimented his team on a great effort, which was accurate. It is hard to criticize Leon Draisaitl for blocking consecutive shots, and have the second one deflect off his back into the net.McLellan’s restraint shouldn’t be looked at as not caring. Yelling, screaming and ranting wouldn’t change the call, but McLellan obviously didn’t like the call.”We’re disappointed, but we can’t be mad at anybody… Interference? You’re asking the wrong guy, I don’t know what it is anymore,” said McLellan in a much calmer tone than most could have mustered.
  • NHL operations inability to see past Nurse pushing Kesler in the crease is akin to those who think Kris Russell isn’t a good player, beause they can’t look past his Corsi. Russell was incredible last night. I don’t care what his Corsi was, because if you can show me video evidence of him making more bad plays than good I’d love to see it. He blocked shots, he took a massive hit and came back. He used his speed to break up plays and he competed extremely hard all night. If you think Russell isn’t good because of one inaccurate statistic, then you are as stubborn, or as clueless, as those running the video review last night. You are so committed to your believe in one statistic, it doesn’t allow you to process what actually unfolded on the ice.
  • The game up until the missed review was a classic. It must be incredibly gut-wrenching for the players and I know fans are crushed. Game six in Edmonton will be electric.
  • I was very impressed with Leon Draisaitl’s performance last night. He switched back to centre in the biggest game of the season and made it look easy. I don’t think there is any doubt he is best suited as a centre, mainly because it gives the Oilers and outstanding one-two punch down the middle for years to come. I’d keep the lines the same for game six.
  • Andrej Sekera’s injury is a big blow. It didn’t look good when he left the ice and if he can’t play in game six, it creates changes in two pairings. If they bring in Eric Gryba, then one of him or Matt Benning will be in the second pair with Russell, who will move to the left side. Or I wonder if they bring in Jordan Oesterle or Griffin Reinhart, leave Russell on the right side on the 2nd pair and move up Nurse. What pairs would you run out for game six?

Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • 813.52

    In the nhl (lower case letters intentional) you are 100% responsible for your stick at all times. However, apparently you are not responsible for your left arm tugging a goalies pad while he’s trying to make a save. Got it.


    Haha, SUCK IT UP said oil fans to the Av’s and canucks regarding the draft lotto, but the review system needs an overhaul? Because this is the first time the refs have made bad calls for and against a team in important games, maybe things will change moving forward. All I hear is WAAAH, WAAAH, WAAAH.

  • TruthHurts98

    The NHL has a mandate to make sure American teams win to create more revenue for them. Kesler’s left harm held the pad down obviously. Oilers need to really crash the crease next game. Still they completely collapsed in the last 3 minutes and played timid. Should never have lost. After Dallas blew the 3-0 lead the last 4 minutes in 96 and lost to the Oilers in OT they went on to win the Cup in 99. We can only hope they have redemption and win it again soon.

    • btrain

      I disagree. It is easy to say they collapsed but they were playing 5 against six for each goal and the Ducks start with the puck every time and maintain possession. The Ducks had every possible bounce go there way, deflection off Drai’s back, a tip on a 90mph slapper that was going to miss the net. Then of course the interference goal that should not have even counted just before Letestu missed a bouncing puck by millimeters for the clear. I was proud of their play all the way through but it was devastating misfortune that lost this one and an inability to win face offs at key moments in the game. Not necessarily a collapse from playing timid.

  • RyanCoke

    I think someone else said it before. Referees reviewing a call that they made is akin to a doctor reviewing his own malpractice lawsuit. The system needs to be changed to Toronto reviews all calls in the playoffs. It is too crucial of a call to be made on a small ipad from the bench and reviewed by the same guys who made the call.

  • Randaman

    Bush league officiating in a bush league. No money is put into proper video review because it would cut into profits. One bad call, ok, two, maybe but to have the amount of calls missed against the Oil be this lopsided is bordering on premeditated. Just sayin…

    • Randaman

      This by the way has nothing to do with the epic melt down they had last night. No time out after the second goal Todd? Really? The team was dejected, exhausted and discombobulated to say the least. CHOKE!!

      • hootoil

        Poor Todd must have had his own meltdown. It was already a long game — to long for Todd to get it together. TIME OUT — TIME OUT! This would have been a PLAN.

    • class1div1

      It is pre-meditated.Gary has borrowed the script from WWE ,where the villain is afforded discretion over the hero.And the crowwwwd goes nuuuuts.The NHL is trying to attract that crowd.Marketing.

  • cherry picker

    Ya Bring in Gryba.
    We’ll need Sekera in the next round. Give him a few days off.
    Ya good point about them making lightning fast decisions on video review WTF! Maybe the reviews took longer during the regular season because some nights have multiple games still being played and TO is busier?!?

  • It was a gutsy and ballsy performance out of our D. It is too bad that we couldn’t close it out.

    I’m not buying into the conspiracy. Video review was supposed to fix the confusion around goals. It has only added to the confusion as the calls are so inconsistent.

  • RyanCoke

    Everyone who thinks this review came from toronto is misinformed. This decision was made from a small ipad and the referees making the final call. If it went to Toronto then this would probably be called a no goal

      • Clayton

        Yes. They are involved in every review but goaltender interference review decisions are made by the on ice referee, bot by Toronto. Toronto is on the line to answer questions, clarify rules, etc. But this decision is the on ice officials call.

  • FlamesDiehard89

    I realize it looks like Kesler is holding Talbots pad, but if you watch carefully Kesler never takes his hand off his stick! So technically he’s not holding the pad, he’s holding his stick. The pad got caught between his hand and stick, and that’s why Talbot couldn’t move it. Just because you get shoved into the goalie and the goalie ends up caught in your stick, that doesn’t make it goalie interference. They got this one right.

    • ed from edmonton

      I think your “observational bias” is coming through. True enough RK’s left hand never leaves the stick. But, RK is initially knocked down and he puts his hands out to break the fall, both hands are on the ice. His left hand moves from the ice to being wedged between Talbots pad and leg. It remains there for several seconds and is still there as the puck goes into the net.

      • Psychiatrist on call

        You are right. Also, one can see that his eyes are half closed, therefore he couldn’t see proper what he was holding. In addition, he felt some pressure on his bladder and couldn’t form an intent due to his preoccupation with physiological functioning. Need I say that he is a Christian and would never do such a thing in the first place.

    • ET

      You really need to watch it again, this time with your eyese open fool. You will then see that kesler is actually pulling on talbots pad to keep it open. For Gods sake man you can even see talbots pad bend cause hes trying to movie his knee and subsequently close the 5 hole! Uand where does the goal go in, 5 hole of course. Anyone with half a brain for the game knows that kesler knew exactly what he was doing!!!! The fact that we have a crappy coach who has shown once again that his flaws cost his team. Really Todd you didnt think to call a timeout after they score 2 in a minute???? Were you maybe asleep at the wheel once again?? Then you have no balls to call out the refs but leave it for Lucic to do? Man any coach worth his salt would have called them out after the blown call in game 4. Think Sather back in the day, Babcock, Gretzky at the Plympics, Carlyle in this series, the list goes on but we get stuck

        • Randaman

          Really? We’re all the high stick goals, cheap shots, hooking, slashing, holding and mauling non-calls in your series just an anomoly? The Ducks get away with murder on a continuous basis and this just goes to the wayside because it’s happening to the Oilers? Flames fans were livid if I remember correctly so FO

          • KKisTHEproblem

            Ha Ha Ha, randy boy, you troll FN all the time, never a good thing to say. There was no sympathy from you when flames lost after being up 4 1 on a high stick goal. Now you’re getting yours, luv it!

  • Ten Long Years

    After 10 long years out of the playoffs, the Oilers will be playing in game 6 of round 2 of the SC playoffs tomorrow. I have been a die hard fan of the NHL and the Oilers almost my whole life. However, I have no desire whatsoever to watch that game 6 tomorrow. And that makes me sad. I watched all the games through the dark years and despite massive frustration, I watched those pathetic teams play those disappointing games because it was fun to watch the sport of hockey. It is no longer fun. You can’t call me a sore loser, etc… because I’ve suffered through enough losing for a lifetime and never felt this way before. The NHL has a serious problem if life long fans of the game are being turned off. I can’t be the only one that feels this way. I’m really hoping this feeling passes soon, but tomorrow while the game is being played, I’ll be mowing the lawn instead (if it doesn’t rain, forecast says 50% chance of showers later in the day).

    • Rob...

      Cancelling my TV subscription once the season is done. I’ll catch highlight on the internet next season. I’m done investing 82+ hours into something this fixed against the team I cheer for.

  • Randaman

    One question, is either PC or Todd going to say something? Fine or not? The league HAS to be called out on this if improvement is expected. Don’t just sit there ffs

    • ed from edmonton

      If Oiler coach or management say anything more about this it will be for a specific purpose, venting for the sake of venting is not helpful beyond some short term satisfaction. Would something like this may show the players that someone “has their back”. But at the same time it’s dangerous to encourage players to fixate on this. I would expect that PC will have a “chat” with the head of hockey ops and express his concern. Not that anything tangible would come of this. It would be interesting if the NHL say anything more about the call, other than a mea culpa I don’t know what they could say. Anything more trying to justify the call would further erode credibility.

    • ET

      Thats is exactly my point but Todd seems to think its below him. He doesnt understand the notion of sticking up for your team in the media and taking some pressure off them. Probably one of the reasons that Todd has never won as a head coach. Nothing wrong with venting to the media and telling it like it is, we are being screwed plain and simple by imcompetent officiating and a flawed video review system. Those who know me also know that i am not one to blame officials but they lost us the game last night, period! They get the call right and we are talking this morning about how they almost blew it but found a way to hold on this time. Instead

  • cherry picker

    Hey Dumb question i know but am i correct that Toronto head office makes the final call on the review and the Reff on ice at the game is basically looking busy on the Ipad??

  • Johnny Zylon

    Ok, as Talbot said: it is a race to 4 and Analhiem only have 3. It sucked to witness what went down last night but imagine the hurt the Ducks will feel when the Oilers beat them in 7. Yay! It was a brutal game 5 call preceded by a brutal game 4 call, we all feel ripped off, I am. I hope the Oilers get mad then destroy the Dicks tomorrow.

  • Clayton

    Good analysis Gregor. Officiating was reasonably equitable throughout the game. Some missed both ways some weak calls both ways. Not a factor in the game until the tying goal. The tying goal depends on if you are a Ducks or Oilers fan. Every Oiler fan in the world sees interference, every Ducks fan sees Kessler taking advantage of a situation and just staying in a crease position. Bottom line is Oilers should not have been in that position. Championship teams dont give up 3 goal leads with less than 3 minutes in a game with the other teams net empty. ICE THE PUCK! SCRAMBLE the DRAW. CALL A TIME OUT???

    • DJ_44

      This should be the take-away. Stop whinning. It was (as a neutral observer) a 50-50 call (at best). Talbot even recovered and did not seem impeded by Kesler. He was getting to his feet when the puck went in.

      One can easily show Oiler infractions that may have been called penalties (or dives). The reality is the Oilers got rocked in late third and could not hold it together. Leetestu missed the clear. The Ducks scored. Now you want an official (on ice or off ice to bail you out. Playoffs people; not going to happen. Get over the conspiracy theory crap. I am a Canucks fan and have been tired of similar accusations since 2011. Play better.

  • CBK

    “NHL operations inability to see past Nurse pushing Kesler in the crease is akin to those who think Kris Russell isn’t a good player, beause they can’t look past his Corsi. Russell was incredible last night. I don’t care what his Corsi was, because if you can show me video evidence of him making more bad plays than good I’d love to see it. He blocked shots, he took a massive hit and came back. He used his speed to break up plays and he competed extremely hard all night. If you think Russell isn’t good because of one inaccurate statistic, then you are as stubborn, or as clueless, as those running the video review last night. You are so committed to your believe in one statistic, it doesn’t allow you to process what actually unfolded on the ice.”

    I hope you read this Matt Henderson.

    Thank you Gregor, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always liked Russell; he’s been a warrior for the Oilers all season long.

  • Muleman84

    Just a crazy night!! Yes I hate the Ducks and yes I hate the refs!! There is No way Lucic’s shove of Getzlaf was a penalty shot and if it was McDavid should have 3 a game!! Getzlaf also slashes Slepy’s feet from under him right in front of a ref, again no penalty. Then to cap off the night, no goalie interference!!! Yet that Letestu interference call on Gibson in game 3 was correct??? I think I’m living in Bizzaro Land wit Her bizarro Superman!!

  • Jofa

    We had the same experience watching the game. As soon as the replay was shown, it was obvious to all of us watching that Kesler was pinning and manipulating Talbots pad. To hear that the HNIC panel, save for Freedman, completely missed this was surprising, especially considering you’ve got ex-goaltender Hrudey up there. Given the speed of the review, which is mind boggling considering it’s kind of an important call – a tying goal in a playoff game with 15 seconds left! – you have to think the call was flubbed. I’d love to see some sort of explanation from the NHL.

    Should never have gone to OT, but Oilers need to be able to hold 3-0 leads as well!

  • McDavid's Comet

    Still waiting to see if Player Saftey wants to talk to Ritchie for the dangerous hit on Russell…… or does NHL see that as a clean hit to the head?

    • FlamesDiehard89

      What was dangerous about that hit? Other than Russell got crushed, it looked clean to me. Kudos to Kris for getting up and skating off under his own power. Love that guy.

      • McDavid's Comet

        What was dangerous about that hit? He targeted Russell’s head thats what. Had it been Johnny G. on the receiving end of that dangerous hit, your perception of the situation will be mutual to mine.

  • blark

    Kris Russel, I’m sorry that I doubted you this whole season. Your performance last night completely swung you in my mind. I couldn’t see through the fancy stats to see what you bring to the game. My bad.