Rangers fall in Philly while NHL fails AV’s first coach’s challenge

AV's first challenge goes...well (FulltiltNYR.com)

AV’s first challenge goes…well (FulltiltNYR.com)

The Rangers lost last night in the shootout to Philadelphia. From a game recap standpoint, the Blueshirts weren’t great, Henrik Lundqvist and Steve Mason were both outstanding, yet the Rangers should’ve won.

It happened in the second period when Jarret Stoll went to the net and jammed home a rebound. The referee emphatically waved it off and Stoll couldn’t understand why. Here’s video of the play with an explanation from MSG’s Joe Michelletti.

So the referee ignored that Jakub Vorachek drives Stoll into Mason, thus causing what he felt was incidental contact. The fact of the matter is this, it was a clean hockey play. Alain Vigneault didn’t just automatically scream for a challenge either. He watched the play over and over on his iPad to make the call to challenge because he felt there was enough evidence on the replay to get it right.

Of course after the game, AV was being politically correct but I don’t have to be. What should’ve been an opportunity by the referee to get a call right after careful review instead became an example of why the referee on the ice shouldn’t have the responsibility of reviewing his own call. Bottom line, that’s still a human being out there with emotions who made a judgment call. And because of the nature of the play, he had plenty of room to continue to see it his way and ignore the evidence that Stoll was pushed and his stick had no bearing on the goal being scored.

Let’s be honest here, did we actually expect the referee who was on the ice and standing 3 feet away from the play to look at a video replay and overturn himself? “Yes, I emphatically waved that goal off and now I can see that I was emphatically wrong.” Don’t make me laugh.

Of course, this is one challenge that didn’t go the way I felt it should have. Here’s another that was actually called a goal but challenged for interference and was actually overturned.

Looking at the play above, to me the goalie is at the top of the crease and the offending player barely touches him. Still the referee felt there was enough contact to overturn. The difference in the two plays is simple, Stoll was going for a rebound which is why his stick was there and then is subsequently pushed in by a defender.

Would the call have been different if it was strictly up to a group of video officials in Toronto? Do you eliminate any emotional factor or perception of the on ice official? My thoughts are the NHL needs to step in and take all coach’s challenges back in the war room. In addition, we the audience should be told exactly what aspect of the play is being challenged. It’s still early in the season so they can get this right moving forward.

Ultimately, everyone needs to believe the process will work. In this case myself and many others did not.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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