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Columnist says Gagner’s historic night shouldn’t have counted

Feb 6, 2012, 3:40 PM EDT

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell — better known by his new pen name, Professor Killjoy — has written that Sam Gagner’s historic eight-point night was actually a seven-point night.

The issue stems from Gagner’s assist on Ryan Whitney‘s second-period goal, Edmonton’s third of the game:

The problem?

Gagner gains the Chicago Blackhawks zone with speed and cuts to the middle of the slot. That’s when Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson knocks the puck off his stick. Then David Bolland of the Blackhawks pounces on the loose puck and tries to clear the zone. But he fails to do so and the puck ends up on Whitney’s stick before the Oilers defenseman blasts it from the blueline past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.

Any way you look at it, there’s no way Gagner deserves an assist on that goal. Two Blackhawks touched the puck between Gagner and Whitney, with Bolland clearly having the puck on his stick before committing the giveaway. That goes against rule 33.2 which governs goals and assists, which says: “An assist is awarded to the player or players (maximum two) who touches the puck prior to the goal scorer, provided no defender plays or possesses the puck in between.”  

To be fair, Edmonton’s in-house scorer had no way of knowing Gagner was on his way to matching Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey for one of the franchise’s most celebrated records. At that time, Gagner was just a guy in the midst of a pretty sweet night, not on the way to sending his stick to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In closing, I can’t wait to read Campbell’s new children’s book, “Debunking the Santa Claus myth.”

  1. creasemasta41 - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Big deal. We already knew Campbell is a bad writer. I believe last year he wrote a story saying the Lightning shouldn’t be in the playoffs because their defensive style is boring and nobody will want to watch.

  2. yettyskills - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Hjalmarsson never had control of the puck, he swatted at it and control remained for Edmonton. Campbell doesn’t realize that simply touching a puck does not erase the assist, the other team needs to control it.

    Sad

    • soupy19 - Feb 6, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      His point was not that Hjalmarsson touched the puck. His point was that Bolland had possession when he tried to clear the zone after Hjalmarsson tipped the puck. Regardless, there is always a bias from score keepers for the home team. Gagner deserved that assist.

      • yettyskills - Feb 6, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        Falling down and sweeping at the puck is not possession by Bolland

  3. t16rich - Feb 6, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Who cares. No real possesion anyway. They desperatly were trying to clear the puck.

  4. danphipps01 - Feb 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Translation: “Hey! Hey! Look at me! Pay attention to my reporting! Hey! Listen! I’m important! Hey! Hey!”

    Another hack writer substituting controversy for actual talent in his endless, futile quest for attention. Typical.

  5. tcclark - Feb 7, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    wait, the myth of Santa Claus? he isn’t real?

  6. uscthom78 - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    Didn’t know Buzz Killington was writing for THN. I bet he’s best friends with Sean Connery and Craven Morehead. His greatest regret is not inventing An alBum Cover.

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