Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Coyotes Steal One from Avalanche

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Boy did that ever leave a sour taste in my mouth. Phoenix stole an extra point from the Colorado Avalanche when midway through OT, Shane Doan crashed the net and either gloved the puck in, or put it in with his broken stick to give the Coyotes a 4-3 victory.

This one is going to leave a sour taste for fans and players for quite some as well. There were a multitude of factors that should have led to this goal being called back but it appeared that the Coyotes clearing off the ice right away may made all the difference.

No matter how you cut that goal though, this game should have never made its way to overtime in the first place. After grabbing the lead midway through the third period, the Avalanche gave up a goal which could have been avoided.

In an offensive zone faceoff, the crew lined up were Tyler Arnason, Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos. Not exactly the strongest faceoff trio. It got even worse when Tyler Arnason got booted from the draw and Marek Svatos took his place. Now, I have no idea who decided Svatos should go as opposed to Wolski but that was also a bad move.

Svatos ended up losing the faceoff due to his skates being cemented to the ice and Radim Vrbata streaked to the net in what appeared to be a set play. Reinprecht fed him the puck and Peter Budaj stood there watching Vrbata put it into the wide open net.

Now, I'll give it to Q that Hlinka and Guite had just finished a shift so weren't a great option. However it's late in the game, you're nursing a one-goal lead and you put out your least defensively responsible line? In the immortal words of the Internet..WTF?

The Disputed Goal
A lot of people have already broken this one down already including DD and AD so I won't detail it too much. What I will say is what I said previously, for that puck to go in Doan had to either poke it in with a broken stick, with his hand or by shoving Budaj into the net. Last time I checked, those were not legal ways of scoring a goal.

The refs - and the Coyotes who ran off the field quicker than a doctor diagnoses Britney Spears as batsh*t crazy (sorry, the Patriots analogies were too easy) - disagreed. After a token review, not only was the goal counted but it was awarded to Radim Vrbata. Of course, there's no way they could call it Doan's goal as that would be admitting a mistake.

The other issue is the whistle heard shortly after the puck crosses the goal line. Now, this is of course speculative but on watching and listening to the replay, I have a hard time believing that the referee did not intend to blow his whistle before the puck crossed the goal line. And the rule isn't about when the whistle was blown, it's about when the referee intended to blow the whistle. Of course, that's tough to conclusively determine via a replay and you have to rely on the referee's word.

And which referee blew the whistle anyways? I never could tell but it didn't look like the ref behind the net did it. Which draws even more credence to this being a non-goal as there is no way the trailing ref could have seen the puck cross the line but he definitely could have been whistling the play dead.


Hensick started out centering the top line again but was demoted to the fourth line as Hlinka got promoted to the first line.

Brad Richardson has been making a case to stay with the big team as he's skating hard, hitting hard and playing some solid defense. Once the roster regains some health, it'll make for some tough decisions on who stays and who goes.

Next Game
The Avs have landed themselves in 2nd spot in the NW after Edmonton destroyed Calgary 5-0 last night. Who saw that one coming?

The Avalanche head off to San Jose to face the Sharks on Wednesday. It's a late game which likely means my head hitting the pillow once the final buzzer sounds so a recap won't be up until Thursday.

-Skrastins was a scratch tonight as Sauer took his spot with Brett Clark
- Wall was recalled to replace Tyler Weiman who injured his foot (good grief)
- the Avalanche again were penned in their own zone early and couldn't generate sustained pressure
- Leopold does a good job at not forcing a shot (and a subsequence block) and just dishing the puck to an open corner
- Jeff Finger was on the ice for every goal against
- T.J. Hensick with two straight two-goal games (could he be breaking out?)
- reading his lips during the reviewed third goal revealed a conclusive statement of "It's a f*cking goal"
- Richardson's slashing call in the 1st was karma for the call he "drew" earlier when his own stick caused Boyton's to ride up and clip him in the face
- is anybody happier than Lappy after scoring a goal?

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
In the Cheap Seats Recap
Denver Post Recap
Rocky Mountain News Recap