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NHL shouldn't have settled for less than fully right in Columbus

February 8, 2021, 8:51 AM ET [41 Comments]
Kevin Allen
Blogger •HHOF Writer's column on the NHL • RSSArchiveCONTACT
No one likes half-truths, or halfhearted efforts. Nobody is content to go halfway to his or her destination.

And no one should to be happy to get an officiating call half right, or kind of right, or closer to being right, in a professional sporting event.

Even though the NHL officials tried to partially correct a mistake after a botched video review during the Carolina Hurricanes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets game Sunday, the "fix" ended up making the league look worse.

Here's what happened: With 1:15 left in the second period, Vince Trocheck scored an apparent goal that gave Carolina a 4-3 lead.

But Columbus coach John Tortorella challenged the goal, believing the Blue Jackets were offside on the play. The linesmen denied the challenge and the Blue Jackets were assessed a two-minute delay of game penalty for their unsuccessful attempt at overturning it.

The 'Canes didn't score in the first 1:15 of the man advantage. The controversy started between the periods when it was announced that the Trocheck goal-scoring play was indeed offside. It was Trocheck who was offside before the puck entered the zone.

The two teams were informed that the final 45 seconds of the power play would be rescinded. But inexplicably the goal still stayed on the board.

"During the review, a miscommunication occurred between the Video Replay Booth in Columbus, the Linesmen and the Situation Room and play resumed before all replays could be reviewed to confirm the off-side,” the NHL statement read. “The challenge by Columbus should have resulted in the Carolina goal being disallowed. Subsequently, Columbus was assessed a delay of game penalty. After confirmation in the intermission that the play was off-side, the remaining 0:45 of the delay of game penalty issued was rescinded to begin the third period.”

It was a mistake. A communication error. Those occur every day in every workplace. You should correct the error and move on.

The NHL had a chance to correct the wrong, accept criticism for getting it wrong in the first place and then gain self-satisfaction for remedying the error.

Instead, NHL official opted for the partial fix that leaves us all wondering why they didn't take away the goal and replay the last 1:15 of the second period. The score would have been 3-3 and both sides would have been even strength.

Acknowledge the error, wipe out the power play time that should not have occurred and move on in the name of getting it right.

It would have been like the situations when we aren't sure whether the puck had entered the net. We play on until we have a stoppage. If it is determined the puck had entered the net, all of the play that occurred, even if another goal was scored, is erased.

Undoubtedly, if the NHL took the Trocheck goal off the board, it would have received criticism for that as well. It's a bad look when you remove a goal that you had confirmed through replay.

But at least you have gotten the play right. The video review confirms that was the right decision. Isn't the objective to get it right?

Instead, we have Columbus forward Patrik Laine calling it a "joke" and Columbus captain Nick Foligno calling it a "bad look."

The NHL is fortunate that John Tortorella held his tongue about the situation. Tortarella might have saved money as well because we know he generally says exactly what he feels.

The worst aspect of leaving the Trocheck goal on the board is that Hurricanes ended up winning by a goal.

You can imagine what will be said and written if the Blue Jackets miss the playoffs by a point. Columbus fans and players aren't going to forget what happened on Super Bowl Sunday in Columbus.
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