NHL

Fraser: Why the Turris review was ruled inconclusive

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Kerry Fraser
11/20/2013 1:10:03 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hi Kerry,

I was watching the Senators-Flyers game and in the third period, the referees waved off a goal scored by Kyle Turris that clearly had crossed the goal line entirely after a lengthy review. Steve Mason slid out of his net to challenge Bobby Ryan, who passed the puck up to Turris in front of the net. Nicklas Grossmann appeared to block it with his skate to save the goal, but replays clearly showed that Grossmann's skate was completely in the net and the puck hit the back of his skate.  The ref waived it off right away on the play but reviewed it after the play was done.
 
The overhead view was blocked by Grossmann, but two other angles showed the puck was fully in the net and hit the back of Grossmann's skate that was also fully in the net. After the review the goal was waved off without an explanation. The game was tied 2-2 at the time of the non-goal and the Flyers scored 2 goals shortly after that and Ottawa ended up losing. My question is how can the referee waive off the goal when there was clear, conclusive evidence that the puck had crossed the line?
 
Usually the referee gives an explanation when they review a goal, but this referee did not do that. I know when it comes to reviewing goals they get it right most of the time but this one they obviously got wrong. I just can't understand how they can make that call when the replays tell a different story. Could you clarify why they might have made the call?

Thanks!

Haleigh Japp
 
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Hey Kerry!
 
No doubt you will receive several emails from many upset Sens fans regarding Kyle Turris' "goal" in Philadelphia. I understand that the NHL has certain perimeters and that it was ruled "inconclusive", but, I think anybody would agree that that puck was in the goal. Obviously, I don't blame the ref for not being able to tell on the ice because that would have been a tough call to make, but seriously, how can the NHL get this right next time?
 
Cheers,

Justin

NHL EMAIL: At 9:27 of the third period in the Senators/Flyers game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Philadelphia net. Video review was inconclusive in determining whether Kyle Turris' shot completely crossed the goal line therefore the referee's call on the ice stands - no goal Ottawa.

Haleigh and Justin,

While it "appears" that Kyle Turris' shot "quite possibly" crossed the goal line based on the heel position of Nicklas Grossmann's skate, various angles of video do not provide the necessary conclusive evidence to overturn referee Paul Devorski's initial call on the play and allow a goal.
 
While it is more probable than not that the puck crossed the goal line, the fuzzy depth perception that we gain once the puck deflected off Grossmann's left skate and went airborne provides a lack of conclusive evidence that is required to allow a goal through video review. The men in the NHL's Situation Room cannot make their decision based on any "logical assumptions" but must clearly see the puck enter the net. Even with various camera angles that are available, that process is made much more difficult once the puck leaves the ice surface and takes flight.

The overhead camera shot was obstructed by the huge body of Nicklas Grossmann. Referee Devorski's sightline gained from behind the net was obstructed by the snowshoe-sized skate worn by Grossmann. The steeper angle provided by the front camera shot did not allow for conclusive evidence that the puck completely crossed the goal line once it flipped through the air. Grossmann's skate was angled back from tight to the post inside the goal line but moving as the puck deflected off his left skate. At that point, with the puck in the air, the overhead camera would be the only one that could provide evidence if the puck completely crossed the line. Some small element of doubt was created with this angle as the puck flipped in the air. Therefore the ruling had to be "inconclusive."

In the absence of a clear video angle to determine the legitimacy of a goal on this play, there is a better alternative I might suggest. That is the sightline gained by the referee! Too often, I see referees attempting to judge a play with an obstructed view from below the goal line and especially behind the net. Unless a ref has X-ray eyes, from a position behind the net the goal frame, netting and the back of the goalie and skaters most often provide an obstructed view of the puck.

When a player follows a shot at the net, he is coached to never skate past the goal line in order to play a potential rebound. In most situations, the same is true for a referee. In scrambles around the crease, the best sightline is gained from a position close to the goal, a step ahead of the line and looking into the net. From this location, even if the puck flips in the air, a referee has a much better opportunity to determine if the puck completely crossed the goal line.

In this case, if the referee was looking into the net from just in front of the goal line, a different decision at ice level could have quite possibly been rendered. Had that been the case, any inconclusive review would have allowed a potential goal by Kyle Turris to stand?.

Kyle Turris (Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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