SAN JOSE SHARKS 5 ST LOUIS BLUES 4 (OT)- (San Jose leads series 2-1)
Erik Karlsson scored twice including the OT winner as the San Jose Sharks took last night’s Western Conference Final match 5-4 in St Louis. The winning goal was, to say the very least a controversial one, as the on-ice officials missed what looks like a hand pass by Timo Meier on the goal. So did the refs screw up? We’ll dissect this but first let’s take a look at how the game got to that point.
The Sharks had a really good first period, as they got goals from Karlsson to open the scoring
And then Joe Thornton made it 2-0 before the period was done:
The Blues would battle back in the 2nd as Alexander Steen scores less than two minutes into the period:
But Thornton’s 2nd of the night would restore the Sharks two goal lead just 18 seconds later:
A couple minutes later Vladimir Tarasenko offers up this snipe show and the lead is cut to 3-2:
And then in the last few minutes of the period, David Perron scores
This one was also controversial, as earlier in the play, Perron apparently put the puck over the glass. The officials didn’t see it, and Perron scored shortly after play resumed.
And then with Brent Burns in the box for hooking, he does it again to give the Blues a 4-3 lead after two periods.
So all the Blues have to do is shut the door and they walk away with a win, but Logan Couture decided that wasn’t acceptable:
Alright, let’s get to the OT goal. First off, you need to go into this with the knowledge that no matter which side you’re on in this, the play is not reviewable. Okay, now let’s look at the hand pass and the goal:
From that angle, it looks pretty blatant, and you have to wonder how no one on the ice saw Meier make the hand pass to Gustav Nyquist, right? There’s a possibility that it deflects off Jay Bouwmeester’s leg on the play though, and if that’s what happened, then the call is correct. Also, it does look like he might have made contact with his stick, which would render the entire argument invalid:
Near conclusive evidence that Timo Meier hits the puck towards the slot with his STICK pic.twitter.com/Y8SsURVuEO— Adam (@pepepavelski) May 16, 2019
So there’s two potential moments where the path of the puck once it is touched by Meier with his hand is altered. The NHL’s statement on the goal certainly doesn’t help matters in terms of a definitive ruling apart from pointing out what we already knew, that the play wasn’t reviewable:
So, yeah the NHL once again looks bad. And let’s face it, the tinfoil brigade is all over this, as 3 of the most controversial calls in the post-season have been to the benefit of the San Jose Sharks. Here’s the thing: you should be mad at the NHL for once again not having the foresight to use replay technology available to them to prevent blown calls from impacting games. And if you think no one could have seen this coming...
WHL adds replay "to review goal situations when a player may have scored as a result of a hand pass or high stick." http://t.co/YKcddBwWS2— Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin) June 13, 2013
See the date on that tweet? 2013. And the thing is, given what kind of video evidence of the play we’ve seen, it’s very likely that the goal is still considered a good one. And that’s what we want, some kind of conclusive decision that gets it right. The problem with video review is that it does tend to drag on at times, and lord do people have opinions about how much they don’t want that to happen. I am quite sure that the people who feel this way are probably fans of the team that was on the winning side of that call, though. So there’s no way to fix this, right? Well, if you look at other sports out there, they may have a solution:
International rugby has a fourth official in the booth with screens to review plays on the go. He can speak into the head official's earpiece and alert him that a foul has happened that he's missed. Rarely even has to stop play. This is the answer but NHL will never do it.— John Spurr (@spurzo) May 16, 2019
This seems like a great method, which means that there’s no chance in hell that they implement it. So instead, we get silence from the NHL and rantings of conspiracies from St Louis fans. I mean, the fact that one of the refs from last night’s game has done 7 Sharks games (they won 6 of those) and 4 Blues games (0-4) looks bad, but we stand by our firm belief that the NHL is not smart enough to carry out a conspiracy of this nature. The push for a Joe Thornton vs Boston Stanley Cup Final from the media certainly isn’t helping the cause either. And no, it’s not outrageous that Meier was credited with the 2nd assist, because if it had bounced off any other part of his body, he would get the apple. Just because they potentially blew the hand pass call doesn’t mean he doesn’t get credit. I know it’s hard to comprehend, but the NHL isn’t saying he didn’t touch the puck. And with the knowledge that it looks like he touches the puck with his stick and it makes contact with Bouwmeester, they probably didn’t blow the call at all. The issue is that the NHL just does such a terrible job with handling these incidents, and haven’t updated the rule book to take advantage of increasingly better technology to aid their on-ice officials. And we all know that at the next Board of Governors meeting, this topic will come up, and the teams will vote down any proposal, because at the end of the day the billionaire owners of the teams and the league itself would rather have games fly by quickly instead of getting things right at the expense of a few minutes. If they believed otherwise this would have already seen a rule change.
I get the anger of St Louis fans, believe me. Say the name Joel Otto to any Canucks fan over the age of 35 and see what kind of reaction you get. Blues fans need to understand that if the NHL had a system in place to review that goal, it probably wasn’t going to come out in their favour.