“Upon video review of the play, the play on the ice stands. No goal.”
That was the word from referee Dan O’Rourke last night in Carolina after the Leafs J.S. Giguere pushed the puck out of his own net after the whistle.
The question, of course, is why? For the fans in attendance, the answer would be elusive. It still is. That was all the explanation we had before the puck was dropped.
Tom Benjamin’s post from yesterday, well before the Hurricanes game, got me thinking about the problem. Faith from the faithful when the war room in Toronto is used to determine a call on the ice.
From Tom (who quotes Elliotte Friedman):
I also think Elliotte Friedman has a good idea to deal with the perceptions of bias:
I’m not a conspiracy theorist (although there is no way Oswald acted alone), but if the league really wants to gain trust, there is a solution. All replay reviews could be carried live into the television network(s) broadcasting the games. That means a camera/microphones in the war room, only to be used when something is being looked at. You can’t argue with that transparency.
Why not indeed? Or for that matter, how about some brief explanation of the reason a puck that was in the net isn’t a goal?
While this isn’t on the same level of tin-foil-hat fans from just about every team, there is more the league could do to remove the view of bias. Transparency could be their biggest weapon in the fight for the fan’s trust (and right now, it is a fight). If the war room and hockey operations people are truly doing everything they can to make sure the games are carried out in a fair way, there shouldn’t be as much of a barrier between the fans and the process.
The flip side is that the closer to the action the fans get, the more work it is for those who have to wrangle them. Look at all the effort spent defusing bombs thrown by fans on twitter. How much more time would the TSN guys have to do their real jobs if they didn’t have to answer every kid who thinks they have it right, and the TV guy has it wrong? Do we really want the fans banging on the proverbial glass of the war room while they are trying to do their job?
The truth is, O’Rourke was in a position that wasn’t conducive to seeing the puck go in the net. And yet, he was in the right position (good angle for most goals, out of the way of the play). And barring having 4 refs and two linesmen, there isn’t much else to be done about the on ice situation. Therefor the issue should be solved in the procedure, and the transparency of process. Maybe even with the flexibility in what it takes to change the ruling on the ice, based on the reason for a stoppage. In this case, if O’Rourke stopped play because he couldn’t see the puck, but the puck was in the net before the whistle, then there isn’t a compelling reason to stick with the call on the ice.
Last night, telling the fans why would have made the rest of the game much better for those in attendance. Instead, trust was broken, and the all mighty war room had spoken. What we have here, as ever, is a failure to communicate.