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Red Wings, Referees, and Coyotes, Oh, My!

Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing against Vancouver Canuck Daniel Sedin's kicking-motion goal being called back the other night against the Los Angeles Kings. That being said, sometimes the referees in the National Hockey League get it wrong in spite of themselves.

Case in point would be game #4 of the Phoenix Coyotes-Detroit Red Wings series. The game-winning goal in that one was scored on an obvious high stick by Henrik Zetterberg. The referees can say all they want that the video evidence was inconclusive because Zetterberg was too far away from the net to ably compare the height of his stick with that of the crossbar (the rule states that for a goal to be legal, it cannot be hit with a stick higher than the crossbar), but the video evidence tells me something different:

1) As noticed by TSN, the puck began to dip once it hit Zetterberg's stick and then was only able to go into the net by literally just missing hitting the crossbar.


2) Zetterberg isn't all that short. He is listed as 5-11. Also argued by TSN, Zetterberg was also on skates at the time, meaning he was slightly taller. His stick was above his shoulders when it made contact with the puck. The crossbar is four feet tall. Simple math would indicate the logical conclusion that the stick was indeed higher than the crossbar, thus making the goal illegal.

The referees at last night's game (Eric Furlatt and Mike Leggo) should be thanking their lucky stars that the game ended up being a 3-0 game instead of the first Zetterberg goal (he scored the third Detroit one as well) holding up as the lone one in the game. If it had, and Detroit hadn't been able to pad its lead late in the game, the goal, the on-ice call, and video review would probably be under much greater scrutiny this morning. But would that be such a bad thing?

I'm one of the proponents of video review. I believe that referees are far from perfect and anytime a missed call, evidenced by a replay on television, gets by them I feel the need to punch something. Needless to say, over the past few years, my door has needed a lot of plastering and my knuckles have become quite bruised. It doesn't have to be a goal call… officials tend to be able to make bad calls an art form, whether they be on a penalty, or even an offside. That being said, they are human, and mistakes happen.

Still, because every single questionable goal in the playoffs is subject to review and placed under the proverbial magnifying glass (as they should be, considering the stakes), it seems kind of dumb for the league not to take full advantage and allow the use of common sense in conjunction with replays during video review.

Obviously, video review has its limits, but the rules are there for a reason, and, so, anytime video review is inconclusive and an illegal goal gets disallowed despite all signs pointing to said goal being illegal, well, let's just say there's only so much plaster I can buy.

Now, this approach should apply whatever the context… whether the puck was last seen being covered by a goalie's glove, which was then pushed into the net, or, as in the Zetterberg example, the puck was hit with a flagrant high stick. It just makes (common) sense.