Game 20: Kings fall victim to some home cooking

Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings deflects a point shot into the net behind Pascal Leclaire #33 of the Ottawa Senators for a goal only to have it waived off for a high-stick violation during a game at Scotiabank Place on November 22, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)Game 20: Senators 3, Kings 2

On the right, is undeniable proof that the Kings got hosed, eh.

Ryan Smyth's face doesn't say much, but the position of the puck and stick do. The puck is already on the ice, while the stick is angled up. Also note the angle of the picture, it is flush with the top of the goal. From this angle, the stick looks to be above the crossbar. But remember, the puck was already past Leclaire.

That, ladies and gentlemen of the jury is undeniable proof the current system the NHL uses for replay is flawed.

Look, I'm not saying that the Kings should blame the loss on poor officiating. After all, they had five chances with the man advantage all game, and only connected once. They had numerous chances to score on many, far less controversial plays in the game. In the end, the blame lies solely on the team not scoring enough.

HOWEVER...

The refuted Smyth goal was good. Pictures don't lie. Not only that, but the Wayne Simmonds goal that was disallowed in the first period when Matt Carkner pulled the net off its moorings just as Simmonds was scoring as also a goal.

Two questions here: 1) Is it so hard to point ice-level cameras directly at the goal to help in cases like this? 2) In addition to using video review, why not use photographic evidence? If Colin Campbell and the guys back in Toronto had these images, rather than those grainy, pixellated images we all saw during the game, would it even be an issue?

I wonder if anyone has done the research and compared the number of times a call was overturned using video review? My guess is it is very small, because the league wants to protect the refs on the ice from being second-guessed every single time a controversial call happens.

I know the purists all say "You have to keep the human element in the game." To that I say "You think the computers are going to take over?" You think robot refs are going to burst onto the scene and start killing people like in that Will Smith movie I, Robot?

Seriously, we can't use the technology we have available right now to the advantage of the sport and ENHANCE the calls on the ice? I'd feel much better about a disallowed goal if there were 15 cameras looking at it, like in baseball or football.

But again, this is all nice for discussing hockey and all. The Kings failed themselves more than replay did. They dropped their fourth game out of the last five games. Some of the luster was worn off the league's Next Big Thing. Their goal scoring is down, and that's why fans are up in arms on having one of the few goals the Kings have scored disallowed.

Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Los Angeles Kings argues with referee Tim Peel (20) after his goal was waved off during a game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on November 22, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)• AP: Kovalev gets 1,000th point as Sens beat Kings
“It was close,” Smyth said. “Obviously it’s a tough call for him to make when he’s in the corner. It was pretty tough, but I think it was probably a good goal. But we had some chances early on and it shouldn’t have come down to that.”
• LA Times: Kings lose a late close call, and the game, to Ottawa, 3-2
The call that hurt them most came with three seconds left in the third period, when Ryan Smyth redirected a point shot by Jack Johnson into the net. Referee Eric Furlatt immediately waved it off on the grounds Smyth had his stick above the height of the crossbar when he batted the puck, and a lengthy review began that left the crowd at Scotiabank Place on edge.
• LAKings.com: Kings stung in Ottawa
The Kings might have lost two goals to video reviews, but they also allowed two goals that seemed to be highly preventable, and those plays turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 loss.
•Yahoo: Did replay fail the LA Kings with 3 seconds left in Ottawa?
Having seen the replay a few times on NHL Network, it looked like Smyth's stick was below the crossbar, but it's not an evaluation made without a shadow of a doubt. What this points to, of course, is yet another constant inadequacy in the video review system, in which cameras placed at an angle above the ice are used to determine the height of a stick making contact with the puck. But that's the system we've got; and it's better than no system at all, we suppose. 
• Ottawa Sun: Kovalev lifts Sens past Kings
The Senators dodged a bullet when what appeared to be a good goal by Smyth with three seconds left in the third period was waved off after it was ruled he used a high stick to beat Pascal Leclaire.
• For a video recap and interviews about this game, click here.

Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings has words with referee Eric Furlatt (27) after having a goal called back for a high-stick in a game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on November 22, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images) They said it
“That happens sometimes, and you’ve got to fight through that and overcome those types of things. It’s frustrating when they are pretty obvious. That’s what they were saying, that our video coaches were saying, that it was a good goal. So it’s frustrating, but we’ve got to overcome those type things.” – Ryan Smyth, on the two calls that didn’t go the Kings’ way.
“It’s not enough. Our power play has to be better. That’s the way it is. We have to be better as a team. Every line has to be better. Everyone has to be more responsible, more disciplined. That kind of game made us successful in the beginning of the year, and now we have to get back on track.” – Anze Kopitar, on the Kings’ one power-play goal.
“He had a good head of steam and made a nice move. I’ve got to stop that, though. If I want to play the minutes against a guy like that, then I’ve got to be better against him. That third goal was completely my fault.” – Matt Greene, on Spezza’s goal.
“If it’s not a goal then it’s a penalty. The player does pull it [the net] off. That’s just a play that you miss. That’s all. We had plenty of power-play opportunities, so I’m not gong to go there, or stay there, with that play. That was a real quick play. It would have been great at the time, but we had plenty of opportunities to get it back, and we’re not taking advantage of those situations right now." – Terry Murray, on the non-call on the Carkner net dislodge.

 

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  • November 24, 2010 5:45 AM Michael Burns wrote:
    Clearly, these photos are from two different plays. They do not provide "undeniable proof the current system the NHL uses for replay is flawed."

    If you watch the video (link below), you can see that Smyth is position to the left of the goal during the time in question. And, you can clearly see that the puck comes from Johnson to Smyth then to the goal. It is never behind Leclaire until after Smyth redirects the puck. Also, Leclaire had lost his stick before Johnson shot.

    These pictures are from two different plays!

    I wanted the goal to count. Unfortunately, there was insufficient evidence to overturn the ruling on the ice. Had the ruling been goal, there would have been insufficient evidence to overturn the ruling. It was that close.

    Now, had the video officials had different camera angles, especially level with the crossbar, then maybe they could have made a better determination.

    ED. note: Very astute observation. It was late that night, and I didn't notice the differences. Thanks for the heads-up, Mike!
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