By Allan Muir
Another day, another brutal call in the NHL.
But this one doesn't fall on the on-ice officials.
This time it was the league's video review team that botched it, taking away an apparent game-tying goal from Toronto's Tyler Bozak. Take a look at the video above, and then read the official ruling below, courtesy of the NHL's Situation Room Blog:
At 18:44 of the second period in the Hurricanes/Maple Leafs game, video review determined that Toronto forward Tyler Bozak directed the puck into the net with his right skate. According to rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No goal Toronto.
You won't get any argument here, or from any Leafs fan probably, that Bozak re-directs Mike Kostka's point blast behind Cam Ward with his skate. But hey, that's allowed. The issue is with the phrase "distinct kicking motion."
What is clear is that the Leafs forward drives the net. He then appears to hit the brakes as he enters the crease tangled up with Carolina captain Eric Staal. Does Bozak move his foot into a position that allows him to deflect the puck? Possibly. You might argue say he drags it (backwards!) to redirect it. But kicking? Wow ... by any definition, it's hard to conclusively state that was a kick. And without conclusive evidence, the call on the ice should have been allowed to stand.
Just like in Sunday's Ottawa/Montreal game, the optics are made worse by the circumstances. If this goal had been allowed, the Leafs tie the game at two and enter the third with a fighting chance against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. Instead, they lose 4-1.
It's one thing for the officials to make a mistake. It's the human element of sports. It's a fast game and they can only see so much. But the Situation Room? With the full advantage of video replay, multiple angles and repeated viewings? That can't happen.