Sunday, October 18, 2015

Why Didn't Jeff Blashill Use Coaches' Challenge on Gallagher Goal?

Yesterday's controversial goal by Montreal's Brendan Gallagher has been a hot topic of discussion amongst the talking heads, and for good reason. Should it have counted? Should Detroit have taken a coaches challenge to determine of Petr Mrazek was interfered with before the puck went in the net?

Read Elliote Friedman's Take on the Incident Here

"I've got no comment on that goal and the process regarding the goal," said 'Wings coach Jeff Blashill after Detroit's 4-1 loss in Montreal. Blashill was asked if he was under the impression that he could challenge at that point. "No, I understand the rules for sure, but again I've got no comment on that," he said. "That to me is an internal thing that we'll handle internally."

SportsNet's Elliote Friedman mentioned that the referee in Montreal announced to the crowd that the goal was "scored in a legal fashion, before contact" after the video review. This must have influenced Detroit's decision not to use their challenge on the play. Here's what had to say about Blashill's decision, and his silence:

Detroit’s decision not to follow up with its own request was weird. Then, Blashill refused to explain it post-game. That’s code for there’s more to this story. Or, “It’s better I just eat it and deal with this privately.” Go back and listen to referee Dave Jackson’s explanation. The last few words are buried in the crowd’s cheers, but he says, “After video review, the puck entered the net in legal fashion, before contact. The goal is good.”
On the Montreal side, players were just happy to have the goal, the win and the 6-0-0 start.

"I told him only you could have scored that goal from any other player on our team. I mean it's good. You never quit. I think it's a real character goal (laughing)," Alex Galchenyuk said after the game.

"It wasn't the prettiest of goals," beneficiary Brendan Gallagher said, "but I'll certainly take it."

Pretty or not is not the question, however. The replay system has been put in place with the hopes of getting calls right. Judging from the replay and what was said on the ice, it doesn't appear that this was the case. What's clear now (and should have been before) is that deciding whether a puck was kicked in for a goal and/ or whether interference happened on a goal are two different questions. In this case, unfortunately, it's hard to tell what the heck actually happened on this goal. I just looked at it another four times and I really can't tell if Gallagher pokes the puck through with his skates before he bangs into Mrazek, or the opposite.

Maybe we just chalk this goal up as a random crazy act of confusion, and move on?