Alright, enough's enough.
On Tuesday night, the Rangers and Devils played 59 and a half minutes of sleep-inducing hockey that might have left you snoring for what was a thrilling ending to New Jersey's 1-0 victory.
In the waning seconds, with Henrik Lundqvist pulled for an extra skater, the Blueshirts frantically pressed for the game-tying goal. Zach Parise's clearance attempt was knocked down at center ice by Michael Del Zotto, who found Ryan Callahan with just under 10 seconds to play.
Callahan skated down the boards and fired on Martin Brodeur. As the rebound bounced into the low slot, Marian Gaborik crashed into Brodeur, with the help of Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. Artem Anisimov scored on the empty (or totally full, depending on how you look at it) net, and the goal was immediately waved off.
With three seconds left in regulation, Gaborik was given a minor penalty for goaltender interference and that was it.
Have a look for yourself:
Now this isn't anything new. We've seen numerous times over the course of the season that if there is contact with the goaltender, you're going to get called for interference, whether it's your own fault or not. We even wrote about a similar incident that took place in overtime of a game between the Sharks and Flames on January 17.
There's indisputable video evidence that Gaborik tried to avoid contact by stopping. In fact, when taking another look at it, you can actually see the snow flying up from his skates at he jams on the brakes.
Indisputable, you say? Well then this must be a matter that is taken away from the officials, right? I mean why do they even have that facade of a "War Room" in Toronto?
As we said in our previous article regarding instant replay implementation, there is absolutely no excuse for the NHL not having complete control of a game-changing call involving a goal. Tonight, the Devils were the beneficiaries of it, but ultimately, the game loses.
However, penalties are not allowed to be reviewed. In most cases, that makes complete sense. According to referee Dan O'Rourke, Gaborik was in violation of Rule 69.1:
"Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review."
Furthermore, the rule goes on to elaborate to cover what the correct call should be in the event an opposing player forces an attacking player into the goaltender:
"If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."
To be fair to O'Rourke, this was not an easy call to make. Only upon further review is it clear that Gaborik was being shoved by Volchenkov for anywhere from five-to-seven feet before making contact with Brodeur. You can choose to blame him for this call. You can also choose to blame the culture of coddling goaltenders that has swept the NHL by storm recently.
Or you can choose to point the finger at the league itself, for not using technology readily available to them to get the call right on numerous occasions. Because that's where it belongs.