Referee Stephen Walkom blows the play dead to to call coincidental minor penalties in front of the Detroit Red Wings bench and negate the Chicago Blackhawks' tie-breaking goal late in the third period. (CBC Sports)
Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook saved referee Stephen Walkom from
becoming Public Enemy No. 1 in Chicago on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook saved referee Stephen Walkom from becoming Public Enemy No. 1 in Chicago on Wednesday night.
Seabrook scored 3:35 into the first overtime to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 Game 7 victory over the
Detroit Red Wings. The second-round series-clincher let Walkom off the hook after he waved off a potential game-winning goal for Chicago late in the third period.
Chicago defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson blasted in a slap shot with 1:47 left in regulation and the hometown fans erupted into celebration. But the goal happened just as Walkom was waving his arms to blow the action dead because of a penalty behind the play.
Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad and Red Wings defenceman Kyle Quincey were entangled in a wrestling match in front of the Detroit bench. Walkom blew his whistle on the skirmish to call the coincidental minor penalties and negate Hjalmarsson's goal.
The sellout crowd of 22,103 at the United Center booed loudly as the officials discussed the call by the benches and officially ruled it a no goal.
The teams carried the 1-1 tie into overtime and justice (to Chicago fans) was served as Seabrook's wrister sent the Blackhawks to the Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings.
Walkom is in his second go-around as an on-ice NHL referee after serving as the league's director of officiating from 2005-09.
Hockey Night in Canada commentator Elliotte Friedman offered his take on the call via Twitter:
My guess and I STRESS it is a guess: what should have been a tripping penalty led to Hjalmarsson goal and that was an in-progress makeup.
Jesilou TongioJesilou Tongio is a writer and web geek who joined CBCSports.ca in 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ryerson University. Her work earned a Sports Media Canada Award in 2009. She was the youngest winner and only female among that year’s awardees.