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NHL defends no-goal call in Sharks-Sabres OT

Nov 6, 2013, 1:22 PM EDT

The referees got it right last night in San Jose, according to the NHL’s department of hockey operations.

Senior VP Mike Murphy, in speaking with CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, said referee Mike Leggo made the correct call in overtime on Tommy Wingels‘ shot — which looked to cross the line well before the whistle — under rule 78.5, the infamous “intent to blow” rule.

“Leggo waves it off when the puck hits the post and starts to come to the net as a scramble develops. [In the NHL’s video review room in Toronto] we’re still looking at the puck off the post, then see the play with Leggo approaching net, putting the whistle in his mouth and he waves aggressively,” Murphy explained.

“Had we called a goal against Buffalo it would have been wrong, because it shouldn’t have been a goal.”

Once again, here’s the play in question:

Murphy’s explanation will likely come under scrutiny, because Leggo’s initial wave off comes well before his second. Leggo’s first motion comes at the 3:07 mark, and his second (with the whistle) comes at 3:04.

The NHL rulebook wording on 78.5 only adds to the confusion.

It states a goal can be disallowed “when the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.” Of course, this makes it rather convenient to go back and pick the exact moment a referee “deemed” the play to be over, since there doesn’t have to be any emphatic gesture confirming it.

Murphy did say that, as far as optics went, the NHL should’ve reviewed the call with Leggo on-ice.

“The optics would have been better if we got him to put on the headset and asked what he was seeing,” Murphy explained. “We spoke after the game, I told him it did go in, we probably would get some pushback and should have gotten him over [to the headset] for the optics of the review.

“We should have done the headsets, because any controversy would have died.”

  1. muckleflugga - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    you rake, i’ll shovel…

    • 950003cups - Nov 7, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      Intent to blow means nothing. If a goalie lets a puck in the net can he say he had intent to make the save? A hooker told me she had intent to blow me, and I told her I had intent to pay her.

      • canadianguest - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:39 AM

        Told the credit card company I had intent to pay on time, please no late fees.

  2. sjsblitz - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Basically this is our redemption for the foot in the crease of 99. BLOW THE WHISTLE WHEN YOU WANT THE PLAY DEAD DONT JUST STAND THERE LOOKING!

    • billsin20xx - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      Are you nuts? A meaningless game in November with team that belongs in the ahl is equal to a 6th game in the Stanley Cup finals? There is no way the bonehad move the nhl made then will ever compare to any other bvlown call!

      FIRE DARCY!!!

      • bullwinkle88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        Stick with the Bills – do us all a favor.

  3. newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Don’t worry the NHL will prtect its refs on a blown call.

    Look at the suspensions given, even on plays where there were no penalties called at all.

  4. olhockeypop - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Figures I finnaly say screw the Sabres and do not watch since they have no chance to even play the Sharks close . And they go and win in San Jose WT Heck I give up .

    • bullwinkle88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      You must be new to hockey. As a veteran of 50 years I know enough NEVER to not watch a game or to leave early for any reason.

  5. sjtorpitt - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Hahaha bs, no intent to blow whistle lol what a joke.

  6. mrpinkca - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Wouldn’t it have been so refreshing if they had said “Yup, we blew it. Myers body made it so Leggo couldn’t see the puck, and by the time anybody realized the puck had gone in it was too late.”

  7. sabatimus - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Intent to blow, huh? He certainly accomplished the last part. This crap is a major argument for doing what MLB is doing more and more: convening umps and getting the call right through replay. There’s already replay in the NHL on close scoring plays. Why not this one?

    Toss the rule.

  8. r4n6er - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    How about realize a mistake was made and adjust the points accordingly. The NHL does it with player stats all the time, I don’t see the difference. It will be interesting if they go on a bad run and lose home ice by 1 point in the playoffs.

  9. gsprulz - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    So wrong

    • erbaker67 - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      The amount of suck on that call is unconscionable.

  10. jwpfahnl - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Mr. Murphy…You are a buffoon! Repeat after me: HE BLEW THE CALL!!! And no mealy mouthed explanations (sic) from you or the NHL office can change that! The “Intent to Blow the Whistle” Rule (?) is nothing but a cop out!!

  11. muckleflugga - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Murphy did say that, as far as optics went, the NHL should’ve…

    ensured its employee vision care plan is up to date, ensuring referees, in house video goal review officials and war room personnel are capable of seeing the plays in question.

    I would argue ability to over-turn quick whistles and wave-offs should be given to the reviewing officials. A bad call can always be made right, and everyone comes up smelling like roses with justice being served.

  12. mehetmet - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    they should take the point from Buffalo and give it to SJ. It would have ended the game, he clearly didn’t think the play was dead as the puck was loose.

    I don’t see the problem here, noone would backlash it. hell, they even do this in jeopardy! in a later round if a contestant gets a question right/wrong and it shouldn’t be.

    replay is for one thing – get it right.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      And somewhere, Armando Galarraga pours a shot of tequila and sighs deeply.

  13. elvispocomo - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    He took a long time to blow the whistle, and the puck was in well before he did. Should have been a goal, and they probably could have cleared it up with a review, but it’s not going to change now.

  14. rimstermc - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Brett Hull in 99, John Leclair in 2000. I think it’s about time the Sabres caught a break

    • axisofweasels - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      this totally makes up for the stanley cup

      • bullwinkle88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        We didn’t lose the Cup on Hull’s goal, that was only Game 6. Even if we went on to win that game, we still had a 7th to play in Dallas…no sure thing.

  15. skr213 - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Absolutely absurd. Hey NHL, be a man and own up to your mistakes.

  16. titansrbeast - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Ridiculous. Could not believe what I was watching last night and I knew we would lose in the damn shootout like we seem to always do. Why couldn’t they just give us this one and let us win instead of losing to the worst team ever? x D

    • bullwinkle88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:14 PM

      You lost because Niemi stunk the place out. I guess “the worst team ever” has a better goalie than you do. So is it really the “worst team”? Think not.

      • pjd91360 - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        All I can say is look at the standings: 10W 1L vs 3W 13L

  17. mclovinhockey - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Only once have I seen the NHL say they screwed up, it was the flyers vs pens Danny briere off sides goal. They didn’t say they blew the other calls that game that led to pens getting goals, just that which led to the flyers scoring.

    If your a team, making the NHL less money, don’t expect them to care.

    This was a bs call. Mike Murphy should be fired for defending it.

    • skr213 - Nov 6, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      I hear you, but to suggest that the Sharks are a team that is not making the NHL a ton of money is incorrect. This is a team in one of the biggest TV markets in the country (in case you didn’t know, SJ is just on the south side of the San Francisco Bay), the SharkTank is always sold out, and Sharks merch is perpetually a big seller. Don’t confuse us with other “untraditional” markets.

  18. FU Critics United - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM


    For the love of Jesus – learn Grammar! !

  19. bleedingteal4life - Nov 7, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Lol what a joke. Yeah the all knowing refs never make mistakes, back up your boys in black and white, somebody’s got to do it. Sorry excuses. I would hate to actually make a ref accountable for his actions, oh no. Such a sorry call. The sharks played like a sorry bunch during this game anyhow. Didn’t bring much to the table.

  20. pjd91360 - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Wow! That was a huge “whoops!” Well, my Sharks suffered for it but the season is bigger than this one flub. The Sharks need to start winning again.

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