A Blown Call, A Stolen Point
The NHL is very good at disciplining and suspending its players.
Someday, it would be nice to see them apply some performance standards to their on-ice officials outside of firing the ones they don't like at the end of the season.
Yesterday afternoon, the Red Wings and Ducks went at it in an humdinger of a hockey game, won 3-2 by Anaheim. The crime, however, was that the Wings clearly scored in the final minute of play on a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the point that beat J.S. Giguere but had it incorrectly waved off by veteran official Dan O'Halloran.
O'Halloran thought he saw Tomas Holmstrom interfering with Giguere, and whistled incidental contact, with no penalty. Holmstrom, however, was clearly outside the blue paint with his back to the Anaheim goalie, setting up a perfect screen, and Giguere moved out and bumped the Detroit player as the puck went by him.
Now, it's not as if the Wings need the point, although they've now lost three straight.
But it was still their point, and O'Halloran was dead wrong. Even worse, he was clearly calling what he thought he saw, rather than what he actually saw.
It was particularly strange given that Anaheim, not Detroit, is one of the most notorious crease-crashing teams in the NHL, and that there was an extraordinary amount of obvious interference by defencemen on forecheckers let go in the game, the same kind of interfererence that the league is permitting to increase in virtually every game these days.
If O'Halloran had wanted to call interference, he had a dozen incidents during the contest for which he could have raised his arm rather than on a play on which interference actually didn't occur.
Detroit made a great play to set up the game-tying shot, and Holmstrom did a great job NOT to interfere with Giguere.
But O'Halloran took it away. Totally blew the call.
The NBA has allowed several games to be replayed, including one this year.
Wouldn't you love to see the NHL, in this case, rule the goal should have stood and force the two teams to finish the game at a later date? Or to suspend O'Halloran for making such a grievous error?
Don't bet on either scenario unfolding, and no one's going to lose sleep because the mighty Red Wings didn't get a point yesterday.
But make no mistake about it - they got screwed.