Ref looks through Ryan Smyth's body to divine height of stick at point of contact with puck moving at 90 MPH -- Postgame Bullets

OTTAWA ON - NOVEMBER 22: Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings deflects a point shot into the net behind Pascal Leclaire #33 of the Ottawa Senators for a goal only to have it waived off for a high-stick violation during a game at Scotiabank Place on November 22 2010 in Ottawa Ontario Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Postgame response on review " LA Kings Insider
Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, told Jim Fox that video-replays officials had "no view available that would allow them to change the call on the ice," which is why the no-goal, called on the ice with three seconds left, held up.

  • It's the video review officials' job to review all potential goals.
  • The rule book specifically singles out "high stick" goals like the Smyth goal as falling under the jurisdiction of the video goal judge.
  • The rule book says, "When a play has been referred to the Video Goal Judge, his decision shall be final." We've parsed this one before. Does it mean (1) when it's one of the several reviewable events (high stick, puck kicked in, net off mooring, time expired, etc.), his decision shall be final, or (2) when the referee actually asks for help from the goal judge, the goal judge's decision is final, but if the video goal judge is simply reviewing it on his own, because after all the rules require him to review every potential goal, then he's just sort of offering his advice and the ref has the final say? The rule book leaves this up for interpretation.
  • Mike Murphy's quote indicates that he thinks the video goal judge can overturn the ref (i.e. have the last word) if they have "proof" or whatever word you prefer. 
  • But the rules don't say what happens if the video review is inconclusive. The rules don't say, for example, if there's no definitive proof that it's either above or below the crossbar, then the call on the ice stands. The ref says, "no goal, hit with a high stick." The video review says, "we can't tell if it's above the crossbar or not." The rules don't say what to do if the video goal judge (whose determination is final in at least some circumstances) can't rule either way. In fact, the rules suggest that he must rule one way or the other. It doesn't give the video goal judge the "hell if I know" option. 
  • And there's a big difference between "you have to have definitive proof that the stick is above the crossbar, or else the goal stands" and "you have to have definitive proof that the stick is below the crossbar, or else the goal is disallowed." They've done this with regard to pucks crossing the goal-line: unless the puck has clearly and completely crossed the goal-line, it's no goal. When in doubt, no goal. But in this case, when in doubt...what? "Well, the stick might have been too high, or might not. What the heck, waive it off anyway!" Grrrr.
  • The rules also say, "The Referees shall have general supervision of the game and shall have full control of all game officials and players during the game, including stoppages; and in case of any dispute, their decision shall be final."
  • Unless he asks for help from video review?
  • And, since every goal is automatically reviewed by the video goal judge, why would the ref ever ask for help, since asking for help strips him of the power to make the final decision? 

UPDATE:

 

in which I cut/paste a comment I just made on LAKi, which seemed worth added over here...

Yes, the game goes fast, and that’s why video review has jurisdiction (when consulted by the ref) over pucks directed with a high stick. You bring up the standard of “no clear evidence the goal was legal”, but the rule book does not set that standard. Unfortunately, the rule book does not clarify whether the burden of proof is on the infraction (proof the stick was above the crossbar at the point of contact) or the absence of one (proof the stick was not above the crossbar).

HOWEVER, obviously, all goals are only good goals in the absence of an infraction preceding the goal. So, logically, the burden lies with showing that the infraction (the high stick) occurred. Video review does not show that the infraction occurred. So they cannot rule that it occurred. If the ref asked for a video review (which I bet he didn’t), the video review’s determination (good goal, no goal) is final. There is no “whatever you think” option.

Now, if the ref simply decides it WAS hit with a stick above the crossbar, AND he doesn’t ask for a review (which would give away his authority to have final say in the matter) AND video review is inconclusive, THEN the call on the ice can stand, technically, because the ref never asked for a review. The video review happens automatically on EVERY goal or potential goal, but a reasonable reading of the rule is that the video review doesn’t have the final say unless the ref asks for the opinion of video review.

At which point, one might wonder why a ref in the opposite corner, who has to look through Ryan Smyth’s body to see his high stick, on a play that is at worst very, very close, wouldn’t desire the input of video review.

Maybe because his authority is more important to him than being right?

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