LOS ANGELES — Vancouver is hockey’s Dallas, with GM Place being the grassy knoll of the National Hockey League.
Nowhere do conspiracy theories fly further and faster than Vancouver, and on Tuesday Canucks Nation would like to line up the NHL’s Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations and give him a distinct kicking motion of his own.
The goal that wasn’t, which came at 3:06 of the third period of Game 3, is as big a topic in Vancouver today as the ash cloud is in Europe.
After one of the lengthier reviews you’ll see, it was ruled that the puck was kicked in by Daniel Sedin, despite the fact that no “distinct kicking motion” was present.
“First we determine where the pass came from,” series supervisor Kris King explained Tuesday morning. “The only way it could go in with the amount of speed on the pass was that it was kicked.
“They ruled that it was not a redirect, and not a deflection. It was the movement of his foot going forward that propelled the puck over the line.”
There isn’t any question that a puck coming from behind the goal was redirected at nearly a 180 degree angle on goal. Sedin’s foot didn’t move in a “distinct kicking motion,” but it didn’t have to.
Still, the rule book shrouds the whole scenario in confusion. It reads:
“A puck that deflects into the net of an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal. A puck that is directed into the net by an attacking player’s skate shall be a legitimate goal as long a no distinct kicking motion is evident.”
Did Sedin intend to direct the puck on goal using his skate. You bet he did.
Was there “a distinct kicking motion?” Not that anyone could see.
Then there’s the part in the rule book about a “pendulum motion” of the player’s leg.
“The word pendulum motion,” King said. “Not all kicks have that pendulum motion. Most don’t.”
“We don’t rule on intent,” he added. “We rule on what we see, and the result of what we see. It’s a tough one. We know. That’s a big goal in a series. We don’t take sides. We just try and make the right calls. and trust that we make the right calls when they happen.”
After the game, Los Angeles coach terry Murray said it was the correct call, while Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said the wrong call was made. That was the easiest call of the night.
As for the “war room” in Toronto, there are a bunch of people in Vancouver after Game 3 who think Murphy and his boys are working out of the top floor of the Texas Book Depository, in Dealey Plaza.
“You’ve got a group of people consistently making these calls on a nightly basis, using the same criteria every night,” explains King. “Murph makes the call. Ultimately, the video room was established so the people who deal with this for 1,230 games and playoff are the same. They are more comfortable making the call.”