Leafs coach challenges proposal

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:23 PM ET

TORONTO - Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson doesn’t want to return to the good old days when it comes to goalie-interference calls, and that’s why he’s not interested in the National Hockey League adopting the idea of a coach’s challenge for disputed calls.

Wilson is afraid that implementing such a challenge would lead the league right down the slippery slope to the days when a toe in the crease could cost you a game and goals were hard to come by.

“I think our officiating is great and I’m afraid of the toe-in-the-crease rule, which I benefited from back in ’98 when we were playing the Bruins,” Wilson said after the Leafs’ skate on Saturday morning.

Wilson was, of course, referring to the 1997-98 playoffs when he coached the Washington Capitals all the way to the Stanley Cup final. During a first-round game against Boston, Bruins centre Tim Taylor was deemed to have put his skate in the paint away from the play on what appeared to be the winning goal. The Capitals, already in their dressing room when the call was overturned, came back to score the winner and advance in the playoffs.

Wilson said if some contact with goalies wasn’t allowed “you’d be disallowing every goal unless it’s a two-on-one and a clean shot at the net. We have four pairs of eyes on the ice and somebody out there has to see what’s going on ... If they blow a call, they blow a call. And it has happened to us this year. You just move on.”

The issue of the coach’s challenge was raised in connection to Colton Orr’s controversial game-winner against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 26. Everybody at the Air Canada Centre — except the ref, that is — saw the burly Leafs forward run into Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen. The puck deflected in off Orr and helped Toronto to a 3-1 victory.

“We are talking about a blatant example (Orr’s goal), and that only happens once or twice a year, and usually the referees get it right. If they miss it once, am I going to throw that red flag cause I can? I don’t know if that’s what we should be doing. It’s hard enough to score in our league,” Wilson said.

dave.hilson@sunmedia.ca


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