Saturday, February 15, 2014

Close Call of Week: Russia Goal Disallowed v USA Hockey

Our Close Call of the Week flies in from Sochi, Russia's Bolshoy Ice Dome where Team USA knocked off Russia in an epic shootout thriller of men's hockey. At the heart of the matter, however, was an apparent Russian goal late in the third period that was waived off after video instant replay review, allowing the game to proceed to overtime in the first place.

With 4:40 remaining in the third period, Russian skater Fedor Tyutin shot from the upper offensive zone on and in goal for what was then ruled a good goal and 3-2 Russian lead. After referee Brad Meier's initial mechanic of "score the goal"—the referee must make this call when a puck finds its way into the net unless another call (the waive-off) is necessary—all four officials got together before formal video review at the scorer's bench.

This IIHF screenshot release shows the goal net off its
mooring at the time of the disallowed goal (4:40).
Pursuant to International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rule 471(a)5, which states "no goal shall be allowed...if the goal net has been displaced from its normal position, or the frame of the goal net is not completely flat on the ice."

After video review, the goal was negated and play resumed from the point of interruption. Replays indicate USA goalkeeper Jonathan Quick appeared to displace the goal net while attempting a routine hockey move. His actions cannot conclusively be classified as deliberate or intentional.

Had the referees deemed Quick deliberately displaced the goal net, no goal would have been awarded to Tyutin for the infraction. Rule 554b states that if the goalkeeper "deliberately displaces the goal frame from its normal position, [he] shall be assessed a minor penalty." As for awarding a goal, Rule 554b(d) states that a goal may be awarded only if a goalkeeper has been removed from the ice when the infraction occurs; otherwise a minor penalty is assessed unless the criteria for a penalty shot are met (last two minutes of game or overtime; opponent in control with no opponent between him and the goalkeeper with a reasonable opportunity to score).

Contrary to popular belief, it was not referee Brad Meier of the USA and NHL who unilaterally ruled "no goal" because as a referee, he did not have access to video instant replay. Instead, that responsibility fell to the video goal judge, who reviewed whether the puck had entered the net prior to the goal frame being displaced, as in IIHF Rule 330(b)2. The goal judges listed for the match include Chris Carlson of Canada and Andre Schrader of Germany; the video goal judge is not included.

Procedural Rule 4 states that in the case of an inconclusive video review, the referee makes the final decision. As evidenced by the attached photograph, visual evidence tends to conclusively indicate the goal frame was dislodged, as in 471(a)5.

IIHF referee supervisor Konstantin Komissarov soon thereafter confirmed the no goal ruling and video review process was proper and correct. Interestingly enough, prior to the Vancouver games of 2010, Komissarov and NHL officiating director Terry Gregson mulled whether to assign and allow Canadian referee Dan O'Halloran and Canadian referee Bill McCrearly and Canadian linesman Jean Morin to officiate the gold medal game between Canada and the United States. At the time, Gregson posed a philosophical question saying, "Will we be using the best or are there political ramifications to our decisions?"

The IIHF and NHL referee supervisors then voted to put three Canadian officials on the Canada-USA game. The fourth—linesman Stefan Fonselius—was from Finland. Canada ultimately won that contest in overtime, 3-2.

A similar IIHF-specific rule concerns the puck on the net itself, which explains why play was not immediately blown dead when the puck deflected onto the netting itself with two seconds remaining in overtime: "When the puck is lodged in the outside netting of the goal net for more than three sec- onds or frozen against the goal net between opposing players, the Referee shall stop the play and face-off the puck" (IIHF Rule 481).

Had this game been played under NHL rules, the goal would have been allowed, as "the goal frame shall be considered in its proper position when at least a portion of the flexible peg(s) are still inside both the goal post and the hole in the ice. The flexible pegs could be bent, but as long at least a portion of the flexib;e peg(s) are still in the hole in the ice and the goal post, the goal frame shall be deemed to be in its proper position. The goal frame could be raised somewhat on one post (or both), but as long as the flexible pegs are still in contact with the holes in the ice and the goal posts, the goal frame shall not be deemed to be displaced" (NHL Rule 78.4).

International Rules also propelled Team USA through the shootout, allowing repeated use of successful winger T.J. Oshie, who ultimately scored the game-winner in the eighth round.

Wrap: United States vs. Russian Federation (XXII Olympic Winter Games Hockey), 2/15/14


Gil Imber said...

Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Great officiating to make sure they got it right.

Gil Imber said...

VERY cut and dry. To win a hockey match apparently you ask your goalie to "move the goalposts" when danger threatens and have a national from your own country to be the referee.

This is what makes Americans "exceptional"

Gil Imber said...

Not to cause trouble but the referee that disallowed that goal was Marcus Vinnerberg (who is swedish) and not Brad Meier

Gil Imber said...

One correction I am going to make on my previous post: It Vinnerborg that spoke to the replay booth who then proceeded to disallow that goal

Gil Imber said...

That fact makes the whole scapegoating/blame the referee dynamic all the more convincing. We have the American ref score the goal in real time, a review and the Swedish ref waive it off afterward. Talk about making up reasons to bash the zebras...

Gil Imber said...

Yea I agree with you 100%. I mean I watched the game and had no clue that the net was off, and for that matter neither did NBC and it's announcers until several minutes after. So I can see why the ref would miss it. I can understand people being disappointed that this happened, because it happens regularly in sports, but to blame a ref because he's an American is ridiculous. I don't see what he or any official would get out of cheating, especially in those circumstance. I also wonder why the IIHF and NHL supervisors would allow an American to ref that game? Not taking away anything from Brad Meier, but you would think that they would have used a Canadian-born NHL ref (perhaps Dave Jackson, Kelly Sutherland or Kevin Pollock) to prevent any kind of perception that there was "home cooking" going on. Especially considering it was a game involving the host country. I mean it was only qualifying and not an elimination game but at some point maybe the Russians and their fans have to look at their team being a disappointment so far. They scored 7 goals in 3 games (5 against a very over-matched Slovenia team), and were shutout by Slovakia until the shootout.


Gil Imber said...

And what makes you "exceptional" is your lack of reading comprehension.

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