Hybrid icing was introduced in the NHL this season to help prevent injuries caused by players racing after pucks and crashing into the end boards. But it didn't work for Toronto Thursday night after a controversial goal that appeared to be icing gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs.
Hybrid icing was introduced in the NHL this season to help prevent injuries caused by players racing after pucks and crashing into the end boards.
And to a degree, it has worked.
But it didn't work for the Toronto Maple leafs Thursday night when rookie defencerman Morgan Rielly lost a foot race with Radek Dvorak of the Carolina Hurricanes. An icing call was waived off and then the unthinkable happened. The puck hit the backboards, trickled back toward the Maple Leafs net, bounced off goalie Jonathan Bernier and in.
Ron Hainsey was credited with the goal after banking a pass off the boards from the Carolina zone that appeared to be icing. The play happened so quickly that the puck went into the net before the linesman even waived off the icing call.
It was the game-winning goal in a 3-2 Carolina victory. The hometown crowd was upset, but most agree the right call was made.
Maple Leafs defender Cody Franson was on the ice at the time.
"It doesn't matter what I think," Franson said. "Unfortunately that's the tough part for the linesman to make that call on the new hybrid icing. He made his judgement and there's nothing else we can do about it. It puts more pressure on the officials and obviously makes their job harder, but we have to understand that. There are going to be calls like that along the way and you just hope most of them don't go against you."
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said the winning goal came off a rather confusing play.
"The angle in which the puck was thrown in, everybody thought it was going to go around the boards," Carlyle said. "In my mind, their player was one foot ahead of Morgan Rielly, but he was on the short side of the net and from where we were, we thought the puck was going to go around and be on the other side of the net and Morgan would have been closer to it. But that's the new rules and they're making a decision at the faceoff dot."
Not thrilled with the new rule
Leafs right winger Joffrey Lupul said he was charging to the bench for a line change because he thought icing was about to be called and missed the puck going in the net. He did, however, let it be known he is not thrilled with hybrid icing.
"We voted yes on hybrid icing and I won't say my opinion on it, but you can tell what I voted," Lupul said.
Told you so: At practice Friday Leafs coach Carlyle insisted that if his players continued to play mistake-ridden hockey it was going to come back and bite them in the butt. Well, the Maple Leafs built a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, but imploded in the third giving up three unanswered goals.
"I look at the game and the three goals they scored," Carlyle said. "One went in off the shaft of one of our sticks and the other one was a shot that went of [Carl] Gunnarsson's boot and landed right on the stick of Eric Staal and then third one, as we all know... I think the hockey gods got back at us tonight."
From hero to goat: In a season where James Riemer and Jonathan Bernier have been hogging the headlines by saving the day when their teammates have floundered, it sure wasn't a good night to be a Maple Leafs goaltender on Thursday. Reimer got the start, but lasted just 31 seconds before leaving the game with a suspected concussion. Bernier came in and played well for 40 minutes, but allowed the flukiest of goals to beat him.
Reimer, making his second consecutive start, bobbled a routine wrist shot by Carolina's Jordan Staal and had to dive out of his net for the rebound. After covering the puck, he was crashed into by teammate Josh Leivo, up from the AHL Marlies. Leivo's knee collided hard with Reimer's head and, after receiving attention from the medical staff, the goalie was pulled from the game. Had Reimer caught the puck in the first place the collision never would have occurred. The play was eerily similar to the hit he suffered two years ago in Montreal when Canadiens' Brian Gionta rammed him.
Bernier played well for two periods, but things definitely didn't go his way in the third. After the game Bernier took the heat for the defeat.
"It was a bad mistake on my part," Bernier said. "I looked up to see what my options were and the puck was probably spinning a lot and I misjudged it."
Carlyle said Reimer had a headache, but added he expected him to practice on Friday. Leivo, by the way, sustained a cut chin on the crash and required a few stitches.
Chance of a lifetime: As a precaution, the Maple Leafs placed an emergency call to University of Toronto Varsity Blues goaltender Brett Willows, who raced to get to the Air Canada Centre. The 23-year-old from Rivers, Manitoba, dressed but stayed in the equipment room. He has played the past two seasons at U of T.
Making amends: Playing in his fourth NHL game, Leivo notched his first NHL goal at 6:47 of the second period when he broke in off the right boards and snapped a shot home on the short side past Carolina's Cam Ward. Leivo hit the cross bar Tuesday night against Minnesota and was later on the ice when the Wild pulled its goalie in favour of an extra attacker. He said after the game he did not want his first NHL goal to be an empty-netter.
"It's a great feeling," he said of his first NHL goal. "It was a good chip by David Bolland and I got by their D-man to go in two-on-one. Jay McClemment played a good decoy and I just saw the top corner and put it short side."
No JVR: For the second straight game the Maple Leafs played without five-goal scorer James van Riemsdyk who is suffering back spasms. The team has denied that the lanky left winger hurt himself playing ping pong.
Komisarek Scratched: Former Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek was a healthy scratch for the Hurricanes. He has played in just one game with Carolina this season.
Getting to the point: Defenceman Paul Ranger drew an assist on Lupul's sixth goal of the season which opened the scoring at 2:30 of the second period. It was his first point as a Maple Leaf. In 270 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to retiring prematurely four years ago, Ranger had 18 goals and 92 points.
Mike BrophyMike Brophy brings a wealth of hockey writing and broadcasting experience to CBC Sports, having covered junior hockey for 14 years before joining The Hockey News as its senior writer for 17 years starting in 1992. Most recently, the Burlington, Ont., native worked as a writer/commentator at Rogers Sportsnet and as co-host of The Power Play on SiriusXM. Mike has written four books, including My First Goal, featuring 50 players describing their first NHL goals.
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