Report: Error in NHL’s botched review stemmed from video technician

The referees originally called Vincent Trocheck's goal onside and handed Columbus a minor penalty for delay of game, before reviewing the call in the second intermission and negating the penalty - but the goal would still stand.

Sunday’s botched offside challenge during the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes was one of the most bizarre and confusing sequences of events we’ve seen in an NHL game.

According to Blue Jackets writer Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, who spoke with the league’s executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, the league office didn’t actually uphold the ruling of a good goal and were in fact still in the process of reviewing the goal when on-ice officials made their announcement, and that it was an in-arena video coordinator — someone in charge of connecting on-ice officials with those in Toronto’s war room — who chimed in and unintentionally set off the series of events.

At the 18:25 mark of the second period of a 3-3 game, Hurricanes forward Vincent Trocheck scored to give Carolina the lead. Columbus quickly challenged the goal, believing Trocheck to have been off-side.

“We sent the first video (clip) for the linesmen to review — we’re looking at them, too, in Toronto — and we hear a voice on the line say, ‘He’s onside. That’s a good goal.’ He said it twice! The linesmen (Jonny Murray and Tyson Baker) heard that, took off the headsets and stepped away so they could make the call,” Campbell told Portzline, explaining the breakdown in communication.

Per Portzline’s report Monday morning, the technician who connected on-ice officials with the league office was still in training and, while “eager” and “trying to get involved,” did not have an understanding that his role is simply to facilitate communication and not to get involved with the rulings. The final call of the review was supposed to come down from the league’s senior vice president of hockey operations, Kris King, located in Toronto.

Despite a clear offside being shown on the broadcast replays, officials confirmed it was a good goal after a quick review, resulting in a penalty to Columbus for the failed coach’s challenge (per league rules).

“We hadn’t shown the linesmen the other view, the one that clearly showed the offside. So in all fairness to the linesmen, they could only deal with what he saw, and he skated away because he heard somebody say ‘good goal.’ Twice,” Campbell told Portzline.

Attempts by those in Toronto’s war room to get the officials’ attention as they skated to centre ice to reveal what they believed was the final call coming from the league office were unsuccessful as headsets worn by those officials were being wiped down due to COVID protocols, with the penalty box official unaware of the voices coming through on the sets.

The NHL has never rescinded a goal following a resumption of play, and while the league abided by the faulty ruling it was determined during the intermission that the remainder of the Blue Jackets’ penalty should be wiped out at the risk of the situation becoming “a two-goal mistake.”

Campbell called the whole thing an unfortunate situation, saying the technician and all involved feel “awful.”

The NHL released a statement to clarify the situation, admitting the mistake and calling the whole thing a “miscommunication” in what “should have resulted in the Carolina goal being disallowed.”

During the review, a miscommunication occurred between the Video Replay Booth in Columbus, the Linesmen and the Situation Room and play resumed before all replays could be reviewed to confirm the off-side. The challenge by Columbus should have resulted in the Carolina goal being disallowed. Subsequently, Columbus was assessed a delay of game penalty. After confirmation in the intermission that the play was off-side, the remaining 0:45 of the delay of game penalty issued was rescinded to begin the third period. – NHL’s official ruling on botched off-side call

Reaction from Columbus, who went on to lose the one-goal game 6-5, was heated. Forward Patrik Laine called it “the biggest joke I’ve ever seen.”

“Especially this kind of game, two good teams playing good hockey in a tight game that should have been 3-3 and not 4-3, it’s a tough one,” Laine told reporters. “But we all make mistakes and you just have to learn from them and move on.”

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