If ever there were a good example/argument for an NHL "Coaches Challenge", Dan O'Rourke's waving off of John Carlson's last second goal against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night might be it. It was a pet project of Florida Panthers GM Dave Tallon but it was shot down at the GM meetings and most dismissed it as an overreaction to one goal. Well, here's another one...?
As a Dallas Stars fan my position on this is "whew!". As someone who pays a great deal of attention to and writes about the sport my opinion is slightly different. Karlis Skrastins took out his own netminder. Alex Ovechkin did touch Skrastins. He did extend his arm, indicating a push. He was standing pretty deep in the crease when the goal was scored. These things are true, but did he push Skrastins hard enough to impede Raycroft's ability to make a save? I don't know about that.
If anything, Skrastins momentum (or lost balance) had him irrevocably on the path to bury his goaltender before Ovechkin laid a hand on him. That's my take, anyway.
Look at it from O'Rourke's point of view, though. He's behind the net. He sees Raycroft turtled up in the goal. He sees a Dallas defender on his hands and knees, and sees Ovechkin facing the goal, in the crease, standing over the both of them. 9 out of 10 officials might have made that same call in the same situation.
Is this another good piece of evidence for a coaches challenge? We could talk about that all day.
Why not just expand the off-ice replay system already in place to include goaltender interference calls instead of the spectacle of giving a coach a red something-rather to toss out on the ice? Or would that take too much time in too many games, possibly taxing Toronto a bit? There aren't that many goaltender inference calls a night.
Trying to remove your Stars fandom and wanting to defend this play: Do you think the NHL can do better in situations like this? And would they have overturned this? Officials are a proud bunch that stick up for each other in any sport. They're not inclined to change their minds unless it's pretty conclusive. I have a feeling the boys at Japers Rink feel differently about the "conclusiveness" of this one than you all do.