NHL Game Night 1/30: Flyers at Lightning
The NHL league office is a mockery.
07:03 PHI Richards (17), (Knuble, Gagne)
17:55 TB Prospal (13), (Ranger)(PP)
08:05 PHI Jones (2), (Richards, Carle)(PP)
14:41 PHI Richards (18), (Lupul, Jones)
07:59 PHI Carter (31), (Hartnell, Timonen)
10:47 PHI Hartnell (18), (Vaananen, Niittymaki)
13:08 PHI Carter (32), (unassisted)
What do you do when the league won't even allow you to compete? What do you do when you know that any borderline call and Toronto will go get on the phone and rule against you? I am amazed the NHL still hasn't gotten egg all over their face yet for the obvious bias and conflict of interest their decision a few seasons ago to move video replay to a "war room" in Toronto, and the subsequent effect it's had on the objectivity of the video officiating. It's been, what, four seasons now? And, the next borderline call that goes the Lightning's way will be the first. Two nights. Three video goal reviews. Every single damned one of them went against the Lightning.
In the first period, Mark Recchi may have kicked a puck in front of him which he whacked at and touched before it crossed the goal line. It wasn't obvious on video but the audio very clearly registered the sound of Recchi's stick hitting the puck. The goal was called good on the ice by the referee, but the decision was overturned by Toronto, despite a lack of conclusive evidence. In the third period Steven Stamkos batted a puck in on a rebound off Philly's goaltender Antero Nittymaki. The goal was immediately disallowed on the ice as batted in by a stick above the crossbar. This time? Toronto hides behind a lack of conclusive evidence and upholds what the referee's original call was. Same game. Same refs. Same video goal "war room." And the exact opposite calls. The other constant? Both were goals that would've been huge for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Waved off. And, every single person who has followed the Lightning in the past four seasons knew what the outcome of the review would be long before the ref hung up the phone. I mean, hell, 6'9" Zdeno Chara could whack a puck in with a high stick at his eye level three seasons ago and it counted in Toronto's eyes because it was against the Lightning, but 6'1" Steven Stamkos, standing legs apart lower to the ice for balance, bats a puck in at around shoulder height and it's "inconclusive." It's become a joke. They might as well name Vince McMahon the NHL's comissioner at this point.
Steve Downie had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 3 hits in 11:25. He would've had a helper had Stamkos' goal counted, but that was before Toronto got involved.
Matt Smaby had 2 shots and 2 hits in 13:45. It's striking how comfortable he has looked in these past two games. Have I mentioned I think this league is a joke?
David Koci got in a fight and had 1 blocked shot in 4:08. I wish he'd go to Toronto and slug every biased nitwit manning the "war room."
Now, don't get me wrong. There's no telling how the game might've turned out had either of the goals counted. Antero Nittymaki played a great game, stopping breakaways by Jeff Halpern and Marty St. Louis and a subsequent penalty shot by Marty St. Louis. There's no guarantee a 2-1 Lightning lead would've led to a Lightning victory or that the Lightning cutting a third period deficit to 3-2 would've led to a Lightning comeback. The point is, the league did not even allow the Lightning to compete in this game. They didn't allow the Lightning to have a chance. There was only one outcome possible to this game thanks to Toronto, and that was a victory by Philadelphia. And, that's a farce.