CALGARY — “Boy, they’re gonna talk about that one for a while.”
Play-by-play man Gary Thorne had no idea.
The play he was referring to was the Martin Gelinas goal that wasn’t in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, a moment that played out again in almost identical fashion Tuesday night at the Saddledome.
Same building, same end of the rink, same square foot of ice, and the same man behind the bench on Tuesday night whose skate had directed the puck over the goal line 11 years before. Incredible.
“Again, it happened so quick that we had to look at the replay to see it,” Gelinas, now a Flames assistant coach, said Wednesday afternoon. “It was exactly the same angle, the same save, except that was a shot instead of hitting a skate.”
Some history: There was 6:57 remaining in regulation time in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, the Flames and Tampa Bay tied 2-2. Calgary was one goal and seven minutes away from hoisting the organization’s second Stanley Cup on home ice.
Gelinas went hard to the net, and a centering pass went off Nikolai Khabibulin’s blocker, then Gelinas’ right foot and over the goal line, but was quickly kicked out by the right pad of the Lightning goalie.
Fast forward to Game 3 of the Conference semifinal between Calgary and Anaheim Tuesday. Sam Bennett’s game-tying goal appears to cross the line before Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen kicks the puck out with 6:24 remaining.
They never officially reviewed the goal in ’04. No one knew it was in, and the officials dropped the puck on the next faceoff before it became an issue anywhere but on the ABC broadcast.
“In 2004 we didn’t have the ABC feed … so they were not quick enough. They dropped the puck and it was done. Obviously they have some way of calculating that the puck wasn’t in,” Gelinas said.
On Tuesday they poured over angles of Bennett’s apparent goal in the Situation Room in Toronto, including views from two cameras embedded in the posts that the Sportsnet TV truck is not privy to. They couldn’t find conclusive evidence, even though there exists a freeze frame that looks like a goal.
“I remember after 2004 I went and talked to Collie (V.P. of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell), and they were all there saying, ‘The angle of the camera where the puck is, suggests that it’s not in.’ But, a picture is a picture,” Gelinas said.
“It was Game 6 for us, and it was a big one. They’re all big in the playoffs, so you’ve got to find a way so there is no compromise.”
While the video replay process was going on Tuesday, Calgary-born Flames winger Joe Colborne spotted a shot on the scoreboard video screen, and reached behind him to nudge Gelinas.
“Someone had a jersey (that read) ‘In ’04 That Was In,’ and I’m getting poked by Colby on the bench. Colby was here back then. He was saying, ‘Look at this!’” Gelinas laughed. “The guy sits right beside our bench. He’s got it on all the time.”