Last night's 4-3 shootout loss against the St. Louis Blues was a game where most would be slightly disappointed. The Blues came back and beat the Devils at their own game essentially. Considering the Blues play since changing coaches and the fact that the Devils have achieved 12 of 14 points (5-0-2) in their last 7 games, we shouldn't be disappointed.
During the game, a couple plays happened where one was immediately reviewed and one will be reviewed today. Both occurred in the 3rd period with the Devils up 3-2. Both changed the game dramatically in retrospect. The first was just about a minute into the period. Kurtis Foster skated from in front of the net and checked Chris Porter. Porter goes down and they make the call slightly after. It was boarding - a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. Bye Bye Foster.
The second was the tying goal. Roman Polak fired a shot from the point through some traffic. That traffic contained Patrik Berglund who tipped the puck and deflected through Johan Hedberg. The call on the ice was a goal. His stick was high on the deflection so they went to Toronto. "The call on the ice stands" said the ref and it was 3-3. We all know the rest.
I thought now would be a good time to go over these reviews as they are available thanks to the interwebs. After the jump are the videos, some quotes, and my thoughts on both calls.
The first is Foster's boarding penalty. Here's the video.
There's the need for three still images here. They are between 1:18 and 1:21 of the video. The Blues feed does a good job of slowing it down (don't know how MSG's was). The first image:
This is when Porter gets somewhat control of the puck. You can see him trying to maintain possession and push the play behind the net. Foster was in front of the net and turned to challenge him. Porter probably can't see Foster and he's in a vulnerable position. If Foster was skating fast (haha), he could have plowed him and we'd be talking multi-game suspension. Let's see what happened.
A few things to look at and compare with the first image. Look at the Prudential ad along the boards. Porter has moved from next to it to over it. He has the puck and it working to get behind the net and to the right side of Hedberg to set up offensively. This is the point of contact. Is Foster's contact from behind (on the numbers)? Not really. If he is, it's not Foster's whole body (or his arms extended on his back which causes these problems). Look at Foster's stick as well. It's over the front of Porter (which could be holding).
Foster's momentum causes Porter's body to turn clockwise into the boards (watch the video). He face hits the lip where the glass and boards meet. He gets cuts and this is what causes the 5-minute major. Here you can see Foster completely behind Porter; on the numbers. This picture, by itself, is boarding.
The things we won't know is did Porter turn becuase he saw Foster? Did he see Foster at all? Is it Foster's fault that he tried to hit the shoulder but by Porter turning (and getting checked) causes him to move and get boarded? If I showed you the first picture and then this one, that's pretty misleading.The point of contact is interesting. I hope the Player Safety Department goes over this becuase it is a close call and it will give players and coaches the knowledge they need to play a safe and penalty free game.
The ref has to make this call unfortunately. Player safety is important. Porter was hurt, thus they had to make this a major penalty. I think the worst Shanahan will do is drop a small fine. No way does he get suspended. Neither Foster nor DeBoer saw the replay.
Here's the video of the Berglund goal. The Blues feed as the perfect angle you want, the MSG one - not so much.
Berglund's stick was above the crossbar when the shot was taken from the point. He brings it down and enough to deflect it and make it a good call. I have to agree with them.
Here's the first picture that shows the MSG angle:
The ruling read, "Video review was inconclusive about whether Patrik Berglund tipped Roman Polak’s shot with his stick above the cross bar. Referee’s call on the ice stands. Good Goal St Louis."
The red arrow is where the puck is. From this angle, you can't really tell. Looking at where the stick is compared to Berglund's body (and he's a tall glass of water) makes this very close. The important part here is the call on the ice was a goal, thus you need evidence to overturn it. This angle deems inconclusive.
The Blues angle:
The stick is below the crossbar. It's been for a second or so. It was tough to find where the puck made contact but the way the camera was following the puck, it's close to hitting it, hitting it, or was just deflected. That would deem it inconclusive as well. But physics and time would make me believe it was deflected below the crossbar.
I also want to give a quick Kudos to Pete DeBoer. He didn't freak out like an animal like some people. Sure he has his reactions and probable has some not-so-nice words to the refs, but he's at least calm about it.
I know people were complaining about the refs last night as we walked out of the Rock (one idiot was complaining about Kovy..really dude?). But these two calls were not easy. The Rangers no-goal call was not easy (and they get that one correct as well in my opinion). But your team isn't going to get all the breaks. It's nice to know that your team won, lost, got a point with a well called game (minus the Zubrus high stick of course).
So what are your thoughts on the two reviews? Did I change your mind? Am I wrong on one or both of them? What did you see that I didn't? Let us know in the comments.