Skip to content

NHL on Briere offside goal: “We’re as upset as Pittsburgh almost — it’s a mistake”

Apr 12, 2012, 5:13 PM EDT

Colin Campbell

Prior to yesterday, not many were familiar with the name Tony Sericolo.

Given what’s transpired today, Sericolo probably wishes that was still true.

The veteran NHL linesman — he’s called over 800 games — was called to the carpet on Thursday after NHL senior executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell admitted Sericolo erred in not whistling Daniel Briere’s first goal offside during Philadelphia’s Game 1 victory over Pittsburgh.

“There’s no other way to explain it but a missed call,” Campbell told The Canadian Press in an interview. “We’re as upset as Pittsburgh almost. It’s a mistake.

“It was a quick turnaround. You can see it was a quick 70-foot pass — the linesman was up with the play and then had to move quickly back and he saw it from the angle he saw it from.

“But still his job is to get the right call and he didn’t.”

Sericolo was one of just 40 officials to be chosen for postseason work from a pool of over 70. According to his NHL Officials page, this was his sixth playoff game.

Campbell’s comments made it unclear if Sericolo would get to work No. 7.

“There’s always fallout,” he said. “The referees and the linesmen are judged on the work they do as far as how they advance in doing games. If mistakes are made, no matter how difficult they are, there’s got to be decisions made on who advances.”

The decision for referee and linesman staffing decisions falls to Terry Gregson, the NHL’s director of officiating. A call placed to Gregson by the Canadian Press wasn’t returned.

  1. eigglesnosuperbowls - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Be upset about the embellishment calls,,,,,,, thats whats making hockey a joke not a mistake !

  2. sjshark714 - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Feel bad for the guy. Terrible call no matter how you slice it, however, I bet the Flyers would’ve won anyways. Obviously no way to know for sure, but something about that game felt like a comeback was imminent.

  3. psujay - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    When was the last time the NHL made a statement about a bad call? I’m sure they have, but I don’t remember them apologizing to Detroit for allowing the Pens to have 6 men and a goalie for 20 seconds in the Cup Final a few years ago…

    • HawaiiHockey - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:07 AM

      I think its good they came out and said this. It ruins the game all around when one team wins on an obviously blown call that everyone but the refs saw. And I’m a Philly fan…

  4. illcomm - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Seems like the league going to “suspend” the ref for the playoffs, but they won’t suspend shea weber for cracking a guys helmet into the boards. makes a lot if sense.

  5. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Brett Hull’s skate in the crease anyone in ’99? Ed Van Impe gloving the puck in the crease in ’75?

  6. chasemutley - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I wonder what Campbell’s thoughts on the missed icing call that led to Pittsburgh’s 3rd goal were. Odd that he didn’t speak out about that.

    • kitshky - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      But that wasn’t a missed icing …that was a called off icing by the official closer to the puck. Not a Pens fan but I keep hearing that from Flyers fans and thats just not what happened.

      • wetmorepsu12 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:43 PM

        he may have been closer to the puck, but he wasnt closer to the pens player who never touched the puck–the other ref was, hence why his arm stayed up to signal icing.

      • kitshky - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:50 PM

        Ok but he was screaming “No” well before the puck crossed the goal line.. so disagree with his call all you want but you cant call it a missed icing because it was deemed no icing.

      • phil5111 - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM

        Correct. I am just astounded at how much Flyer Fans whine, even when they get the call. They win the game but still feel like they need to complain. It is amazing.

      • wetmorepsu12 - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:36 PM

        kitshky- by your logic, i can just as easily say you cant call the offsides a missed offsides because it was deemed onsides. whereas the icing play was actually deemed an icing by the ref in better positioning to see the play, but overruled by the ref further away.

      • kitshky - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM

        No, see I had a feeling someone would go there but that’s not the case at all.

        An offside such as this one is not up to any discretion (particularly because it was two feet offside) you either enter the zone before the puck or you dont. An icing call on the other hand is quite often open to discretion. (a Linesman can make a judgement call if he feels a player deliberatley slows up, or if he thinks a player had opportunity to play the puck thru the neutural zone and so on…) Thats why when you’re trained to play until the whistle, and why you certainly have to be listening for the Linesman’s decision.

        The offside was an indisputable offense that was missed thru nothing but error, the icing was a judgement call made well within the Linesman range of authority.

  7. dlsonice - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I’m a Flyers fan and am the first to admit that Briere’s first goal was WAY off-side. However, I don’t seem to hear anyone making a big deal about the missed icing call that led to Dupuis’ goal at the end of the 1st period. These things happen. It’s not like the missed offside call on Nystrom against the Islanders that cost the Flyers the cup.

    • phil5111 - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      That is just it. YOU are ALL complaining about it, even though YOU WON THE GAME idiots!! It was NOT ICING.

      • dlsonice - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM

        I’m not complaining. I’ll happily take the goal. What I’m not happy about is seeing the league bend over backwards to apologize to Pittsburgh when plenty of other teams have been in that situation and gotten nothing more than “It’s a fast game, that was the linesman’s judgment.”

        As for your earlier post- “The offside was an indisputable offense that was missed thru nothing but error, the icing was a judgement call made well within the Linesman range of authority.”- well, that’s just not the case. Whether the play is on or offside is the linesman’s call to make. He has to signal a washout for an onside play, or blow the whistle and signal a faceoff for an offside play. He made the wrong call, but it was his call to make and there is no recourse if he screws it up. Just like the icing.

      • miketoasty - Apr 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM

        @dlsonice First off, do you know how many icing’s are waived off in a game? A ton. Second, an offsides is a very linear play, while icing is at the ref’s judgement, so while an icing can vary from ref to ref there is no changing what an offsides is and that is why there was an apology.

  8. chibimike - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    No comment from him on Rinne playing the puck outside the trapezoid last night. The game is full of mistakes, don’t apologize for one unless you plan to apologize for all of them.

    • HawaiiHockey - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:12 AM

      I disagree. This one was REALLY bad. And you can’t address them all, so address the ones that directly affect the outcome of important meetings. Besides, this one was ALL OVER the media. NHL is trying to put their best foot forward to gain viewers, especially this year with NBC picking up all the games.

  9. ballsohardu - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Too bad. I dont feel bad for them at all. This happens in sports all the time. How would you like to be the buffalo sabres in 99. That was no goal. At least it didnt cost them a cup

    Suck it up.

    Was sid crying yet?

  10. cup0pizza - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    The NHL bends over backwards for Pittsburgh no matter what and now they even apologize for blown calls that go against the Pens. Lame.

    • pens5829 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Cryer fan?

      • wetmorepsu12 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM


  11. cup0pizza - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Buffalo would have lost to Dallas in ’99, anyway.

    • epictron1 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      That’s not the point. The goal should have been reviewed and it wasn’t because people were too busy celebrating. Who knows, Buffalo could have won that game.

  12. phillyphan83 - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Proof positive that what every fan of every other team but Pittsburgh has known for years: the NHL has favorite team that they push to win the cup every year and that’s te penguins. Theres NO WAY anyone from the NHL makes a comment about that goal if it wasn’t scored against Pittsburgh. As others have mentioned, no comment from NHL on the icing call. Not only that, te way he said it, “we as upset as Pittsburgh,” what are you trying to say? Don’t worry Penguins fans, we saw it and we’ll fix it? Other teams have been getting screwed with calls all year yet you’re not as upset as them! The NHL is so corrupt and now they’re not even trying to hide it anymore. What a joke!

    • benzoids - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      Imagine if the Pens scored on this call as opposed to the Flyers….Conspiracy Theorists would be all over the place! Any decent league will admit to a mistake, which is why I’m surprised the NHL did in this case!

  13. benzoids - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    I’m a Pens fan and yes he missed the call, but at the same time, it was a three goal lead which was blown. If they didn’t score on that particular play, they would have on another based on the effort of PGH sans first period.

  14. pepper2011 - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    you see the real problem is Gregory Campbell. He played for the kitchner rangers and, although they are not the NY Rangers – they probably hate the Penguins so “Greg’s dad” called down to Pittsburgh last night and told the linesman to blow an offside call and Briere would know when it was gonna happen, and then bury his opportunity. Because of Greg’s time with FLA – he would stop in Nashville on the way home- so “greg’s daddy” knew this, and he told Shea weber- Greg went to nashville so Brendan is gonna let you bash Zetterbergs head off the glass and get away with it. all because Boston would rather play Detroit and philly instead of Pitt and Nashville if it comes to that. why do the bruins get such special treatment, I wish he was on my team?!? … and not because he is a hell of a player who is fearless and works his tail off

  15. habsman - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Every time I look at Colin Campbell I feel like throwing up.

    Is it true he got a Stanley Cup ring along with little Greggie and the rest of the Bruins?

  16. vismund11 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Can I get a great big “waaaaah” for Pittsburgh? Oh you guys got a call your way with Dupuis’s goal, soooooo let it go. Later

  17. mancave001 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    I’m a Flyers fan…and yes, the video shows he was way offside. I didn’t see it at the time. However as others have mentioned, I don’t hear anything about the terrible missed icing call or the embellishment on the boarding penalty. The fact that the official would speak out like this leads to the perception that the NHL is trying to push the Pens to the cup again and protect Sid the Crybaby.

  18. renberg19 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    The NHL is upset because they wanted Pittsburgh to win the game/series. Briere’s offside goal gave the Flyers momentum which caused the Penguins humiliating defeat. NHL is now pissed.

  19. dawglb - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Had this happened in favor of Pittsburgh, the League would have issued a statement saying the game moves so fast, and we try to get calls right……. Blah, blah, blah. Probably wouldn’t have sounded so sorry about it. Bottom line, stuff like this happens every year. It is part of the game. Get over it. If it had been the overtime goal, ……. It might be different.

  20. govtminion - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    It was a terrible non-call, and I’m amazed that if the refs missed it, no one called from Toronto screaming about it.

    And that said, it also wouldn’t have mattered a damned bit if the Penguins had done their job the rest of the evening. 3-1, 3-0, a win is a win. Losing 4-3 in OT after being up 3-0 sucks, but even if we discount that goal the Pens still gave it away.

  21. bracket5 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Finally we have some honest commentary from some knowledgeable Pens fans. Guess Geno still trying to remove his soup can from his rectum. Let’s go Flyers!

  22. lasallehockey81 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Flyers fans: NOW isn’t the time for the “NHL has a Pens bias” argument after a ref blew a 2 foot off-side call that gave the Flyers a goal against them. We got the gift, remember? You can’t whine about a statement after you win a game… Isn’t that what everyone says Crosby does? Come on..

    • renberg19 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      You’re an angry Pens fan!

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        I am? I just said Flyers fans..”we got a gift”. How do you get Pens fan from that? Just because I’m critical of my own fan base for doing exactly what they accuse Pens fans of doing… It’s embarrassing to read….

    • kitshky - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Man that just says it all there eh … even when the Pens get absolutely screwed by a brutal call theres still Flyers fans spinning it as proof that theres a conspiracy in League front office to guarantee Penguins victory.

  23. datsyukx13 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    When has the NHL ever apologized for a mistake. Oh wait it cost the pens the game that’s why. There’s mistakes in almost every game by the refs it’s a fast game.

  24. phillyhatesyou - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    ok so there were a few missed calls so what it happens. only way this becomes a big deal is if the refs let this influence the way they call game 2. hopefully they allow the players to play just like they did for the majority of game 1 outside of a few questionable penalty calls going in the pensguins favor. either way that game was great to watch and thats how a playoff game is supposed to be played. it was a good, clean, hard fought, hockey game. loved the hitting and it was all clean. cant wait for game 2

  25. pens5829 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    No way Sericolo deserves another game. That call was simply pathetic.

    As for you Flyer fans using the “embellishment” and “icing” excuse to justify feeling better about yourselves? Stop your crying. You sound like your coaching staff and Danielle now.

    • phillyhatesyou - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      be proud that your squad needs to resort to embellishment to get calls. maybe next game they can play like men and leave that crap somewhere else. especially in a game that had as much good clean physical play as that game had. players get more respect when they dont need to do that stuff as opposed to acting like a european soccer player

  26. vismund11 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Get pittsburgh a big Waaah burger with some Wine. Stfu

  27. penzfan329 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    wow philly fans go whine to someone else why dont ya

    • cowgut1 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      We would, but every time we try Sidney beats us to it!!! Blow it out your ass douchebag

  28. mclovinhockey - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    So pens5829 is crying about the call but telling flyers fans to stop crying about the icing?? Wtf??

  29. dawglb - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Let’s all take a sip of reality. YOU KNOW the League will screw the Flyers at some point in the next two games. They will try not to do it in the first period, and make the make up look too obvious. Have you heard of BOHICA? Bend over, here it comes again……

  30. phillyphan83 - Apr 12, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    kit, the league doesnt comment on missed calls and they NEVER say were just as mad as you. Its pathetic. The correct thing to say is refs are human and they do their best. Not it’waas terrible offitiating and were angry! Truely pathetic.

  31. mattdaddy7 - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Missed call or not (and I don’t think anyone is denying it), did this really warrant Campbell having a press conference!?!

    • cowgut1 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Yes it did. If it wasn’t addressed the Penguins might be upset. The league spends too much time kissing their asses to let them get upset.

  32. sjsharksfan11 - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Only because it’s the crybaby Pittsburgh team that lost is this being discussed and explained by the NHL. Had it happened to any other team nobody would say squat. I can’t stand Pittsburgh.

  33. mclovinhockey - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    I watched the game. It was an icing… No one heard it get called off, no reason for it to be called off. Just saying it was a and the flyers got screwed by it. No reason for the NHL to be pissed.

  34. seanemac75 - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    The only point that needs to be made is this, there are missed and bad calls in every sporting event. But, will someone please tell me any other time that any league had apologized and showed sympathy for a team? The talking heads will talk about it, but the league usually has its officials back in the press, but keeps what they really think behind closed doors. What the NHL has done, is left them open to 2nd guessing on any questionable call in favor of the Penguins from this point on. Whether it is this series or if they move on, any other series. People will think about the NHL like they do the NBA, believe the league only wants certain teams in the playoffs and in the finals.

  35. phillyphan83 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    I’m not talking about the calls, my problem is with the “official apology” to the Pens by the league. As I said before, theres no way this happens if its against any other team. It is such garbage. Why are they sucking up to Pittsburgh? Heres’ one for ya…If Weber had deliberately slammed Sid’s head in to the boards, or maybe jody shelkey or hartnell did it to Sid, would it have been a $2500 fine? Its actually a laughable question because every single person that reads that, just chuckled cause they ALL know the answer. There’s no need for an official apology and quite frankly I think its a slap in all our faces.

  36. plogsdon - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    The flyers won a game by mistake, you’re a flyers fan and it’s a slap in YOUR face?!? Wow. That’s incredible. You should be thanking that ref, send him a freaking thank you card, but instead it’s another example of the Pens being favored by the league. Gimme a break. If they were really favored, it would have been offsides and they’d have won. Can’t you ever take anything and not turn it into something its not?

    • pens5829 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      No. That’s why everyone in the league hates the Flyers and the leagues out to get them. At least in their minds.

  37. plogsdon - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    And where in this article was there an apology?!? They admitted to making a mistake, which they should have done. They can’t not say anything in today’s day when everything is so scrutinized. But I must have missed when they said oh Pittsburgh were so sorry that we messed up, we apologize. There was no apology, but everyone thinks there was.

  38. feva4theflava - Apr 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    I’m a huge pens fan but its hard to hold a grudge. It’s a fast game and there’s always going to be human error. The other side should accept that too Flyers outplayed the pens the rest of the game anyway.

  39. hy3rid12 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    it would have been one thing if the ref came out and said i screwed up and im not happy about it. But campbell coming and saying he is “just as upset as pittsburg”. Are you f’n serious what a joke

  40. cowgut1 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Hmmm……the NHL apologizes for the offsides goal. What about the Pens 3rd goal? Wasn’t that an icing non call that led to that? Just another example of the NHL kissing Penguin ass because they have 2 of the biggest stars in the game. This only bolsters the arguments that say the refs don’t call penalties that Crosby, Malkin and the rest of them commit, and that soft penalties are called whenever a player looks at either of the whining duo funny.

  41. cowgut1 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    The linesman is just carrying on Leon Stickle’s legacy

  42. pens5829 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Don’t be talkin about playing like men when your coaches squealed like little girls for days when Danielle Briere got hit with a completely clean hit.

  43. ndrick731 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Gee I don’t see the NHL apologizing for the 6 men on the ice when Phoenix scored last night. I wonder why. Oh that’s right they only care if it’s the Penguins. No special treatment involved when dealing with Pittsburgh. It’s all just a conspiracy theory by the fans in Philadelphia, New York, Boston and every other city that has an NHL franchise.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1724)
  2. P. Kessel (1489)
  3. M. Richards (1252)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1084)
  5. N. Backstrom (1063)