A goal review (and non-goal non-review) contributed to Thursday’s Flames loss to the St. Louis Blues

Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
20 days ago
The Calgary Flames played pretty well in Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. They didn’t run the Blues out of their rink or anything of that sort, but considering the state of the Flames’ lineup at this point of the season, the red team performed admirably.
However, a goal review that went against them – and a non-goal non-review – contributed to a close loss to the Blues.
Before we get into it, let’s make one thing very clear: being an on-ice official in the National Hockey League is a tough job. Hockey’s incredibly fast and between the number of bodies, the speed of the game and other variables, it’s tough to get things right.
Heck, those reasons are why the addition of video review and the coach’s challenge were seen as a great tool in helping ensure that the right calls are made. Those mechanisms aren’t perfect, but they’re really valuable and useful for officials.
The Flames and Blues headed into the third period with the scored tied at 3-3. Early in the third period, it appeared that Andrei Kuzmenko had completed a hat trick after a point shot was knocked down in front of the Blues net, the puck slid through the net-front area to Kuzmenko at the far point, and he had swept the puck into the net.
However, the officials waved the goal off because they believed the puck had been knocked down by a Flames player’s high stick. Once your team knocks down the puck with a high stick, play is blown down if that team touches the puck next. (It’s the same general rule as the hand-pass rule; the other team has to touch the puck next to keep the play alive.)
However, the Sportsnet broadcast ran replays that strongly suggested that the stick that knocked the puck down belonged to a Blues player – not a Flame – and so the play was whistled down incorrectly.
Less than a minute later, Brandon Saad scored to give the Blues a 4-3 lead they would never relinquish.
But right after Saad’s goal, the Flames seemingly scored on the next shift, with Yegor Sharangovich jamming the puck into the Blues net after a Rasmus Andersson wrap-around scoring chance was stopped by Blues netminder Jordan Binnington. However, the Blues challenged the goal and it was determined after replays that Matt Coronato had failed to hold the puck in at the blueline – it went on its side and just barely left the zone – and so the play was off-side and the whistle was missed.
No harm, no foul, as it was a goal that probably shouldn’t have counted for the Flames. But the two plays illustrate a weird quirk of the current NHL rulebook as noted by Ryan Pinder on the After Burner post-game show: if you’re a referee, you’re better off calling every borderline play a goal on the ice.
If a goal goes in, between the regular Situation Room reviews (under Rule 37.3) and the coach’s challenge reviews (under Rule 38.2), there are a lot of mechanisms in place to ensure legal goals remain on the board.
If something that should have been a legal goal is incorrectly noted as a no-goal for anything other than goaltender inference, there is no mechanism under the current set of rules for a coach to challenge it.
Speaking to Flames TV’s Brandon Parker following Thursday’s loss, head coach Ryan Huska had this response: “I think he made a wrong call, but he’s trying to do it at real time. So unfortunately, I would rather see them let it go and if the other team deems it to be a missed infraction then they can challenge that. But it happens. The game’s fast and those guys have to make decisions in real time.”
In the grand scheme of things, a win for the Flames on Thursday wouldn’t have done much more than delay their elimination from the playoff picture – and potentially weaken their draft lottery odds – so the Kuzmenko non-goal didn’t really do much to hurt the Flames. However, what that goal represents – a weird gap in the current rulebook – remains important, and hopefully plays like Thursday’s lead to the rulebook getting amended in the future to provide the officials with the best possible tools to make the right calls.
Was it a legal hit? Will the NHL hand out a suspension? How does the appeal process work? Who is the heavyweight champ? Every Tuesday, Ryan Pinder & former NHLer Jay Rosehill are in your Department of Discipline. Tune in to catch their takes on some of the most scrutinized parts of hockey. Check it out and subscribe to catch the latest episodes!

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