Is it time for more video replay in hockey?
MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
|Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury blocks Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel's shootout attempt at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., Jan. 31, 2012. (JASON COHN/Reuters)
TORONTO - This being Super Bowl week and all, would the NHL be advised to one day adopt a couple of rules commonly implimented by the National Football League?
After watching a couple of controversial plays in the first period of Tuesdayís gut-wrenching 5-4 shootout loss by the Maple Leafs at the hands of the host Pittsburgh Penguins, the issues at hand are:
1) Should the NHL review all scoring plays like the NFL does?
2) Should coaches be allowed a finite number of challenges in a game like their football colleagues, an idea the NHL already has kicked around?
Cue the debate.
These questions came up after the Leafs deserved to be up 1-0 on a Tyler Bozak goal only to be scuttled by a brutal officiating call.
After covering five NFL playoff games in 15 days, watching the football zebras make far too many glaring mistakes only solidified the notion that NHL referees are the best of the four major North American sports leagues, which also includes the NBA and Major League Baseball.
Having said that, rulings such as the one where Bozakís goal was waved off due to goalie interference just canít happen.
It was Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Zbynek Michalek who interfered with his own goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, on the play. Had a Leafs player (in this case, Joffrey Lupul) directed Michalek into Fleury, the no-goal call would have been easier to swallow for coach Ron Wilson and his players. But that wasnít the case.
In the NFL, of course, every scoring play is automatically reviewed via video replay.
Speaking of the NFL, how much would Wilson have loved to use a coachís challenge on the Bozak no-goal?
If the NHL does take on such a format one day, weíd advise they donít chuck red beanbags on the ice to signal a challenge in the same manner that their NFL colleagues throw them on the field. Someone might wipe out on them.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
While Mikael Grabovski easily was the best Leaf, Bozak scored his first goal in 11 games and was solid throughout. Unfortunately for him, he had a chance to put the game away in the third period only to be stopped by a charging Fleury, who reverted to the Mike Palmateer pad stack. The Leafs had an open net on the rebound, but were thwarted by a game-saving stop by Pens defenceman Kris Letang ... Through the first two periods the Leafs defencemen did a great job jumping into the play. Dion Phaneuf set up Torontoís first goal from behind the Pittsburgh net, while Luke Schenn had Fleury beaten several minutes later only to clank the post ... Yes, that was Nazem Kadri flattening Pens defenceman Paul Martin in the first period. For a kid who once had the rep of avoiding contact, this is just another sign of how much the former London Knight has improved.
BY THE NUMBERS
Great stat by TSNís Chris Cuthbert. With Wilson passing Mike Keenan for fifth on the all-time games-coached list (1,387), Cuthbert calculated that it would take the Leafs bench boss until 2021 to reach Scotty Bowmanís record of 2,146. When Wilson was informed of that projected date, he guaranteed Cuthbert he would not still be coaching at that time ... Matthew Lombardiís minor in the third period was the first penalty taken by the suddenly-disciplined Leafs in 182 minutes. Thatís the longest streak since 1941-42 ... Since acquiring Phaneuf and Keith Aulie from the Calgary Flames exactly two years ago Tuesday, the Leafs have a record of 75-63-20 ... Evgeni Malkin, who tied the game 4-4 with 6.6 seconds remaining in regulation, now has 38 career points in 18 regular seson games against Toronto.
Along with the Bozak no-goal in the first period, a quick whistle also cost the Leafs a prime scoring chance with 21 seconds remaining in the first. The officials blew the play dead after losing sight of the puck, which had squeezed out from beneath Fleuryís pads. Fleury, by the way, was on his knees facing his own net at the time ... The Leafs donít get to the shootout if not for Jonas Gustavssonís sprawling stop off Letang in the final seconds of overtime ... Gustavsson had no chance on Malkinís equalizer, as James Nealís shot deflected in off Malkinís body ... Phil Kessel had an open net late in overtime with Fleury down and out but could not locate the puck ... Interesting that the Leafs wore their home blues and the Pens their road whites ... Only three of Clarke MacArthurís 15 goals have come while donning that blue jersey ... The Leafs used their speed to dominate the first 50 minutes of the game. Thatís why gaining just one point in this one will be so difficult to digest.