Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa scored a questionable goal in a 4-3 overtime win over the Blues on Wednesday. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
Here's Marian Hossa's goal from last night, which resuscitated the Chicago Blackhawks when they were down 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues and looking lost.
Here's what I don't believe: Conspiracy theories.
Not for a second will anyone convince me that the people in the NHL war room were sitting there watching and saying, "Boy, we've got to make this Marian Hossa goal count. The Blackhawks play in the NHL's third-largest market and we've got to get them into the playoffs."
Here's what I do believe:
1. No referee wants to make the wrong call. Dan O'Halloran ruled it a goal because he honestly thought it was a goal. The best referees die inside when they err, especially in a critical situation. Brad Watson blew one in the Anaheim-Detroit playoff series two years ago and it took him a year to get over it.
2. Replay is important. It should be about getting the call right. That's it. And after watching that last night, the system doesn't work. There's no other way to put it.
Let's just look at it this way: How much was on the line with that call?
What's a home playoff date worth in Chicago, Calgary and Dallas? How much money does Chicago make or Dallas-Calgary lose in playoff revenue?
What about season-ticket renewals, which are usually higher when a team makes the playoffs? Are there any jobs on the line that could be affected by a playoff berth?
If you think the Blues were angry, imagine the Flames and Stars.
I'm a big believer that everything evens out - the Ducks got away with one last week in Calgary and lost two against Dallas. But the league must make sure the on- and off-ice officials have the best possible system to make the best possible decision.
If anything good comes from this, it will be a change in the current system.
Many times, we excuse referees for missing a call by saying the game is too fast. And you know what? That's fair. The games is fast, even for two referees.
That's why it's so hard to understand why, if the war room determines replays to be inconclusive, the call reverts back to the ice. O'Halloran doesn't have a monitor to watch the replays. If Colin Campbell, Mike Murphy and Co. can't tell if it's a goal reviewing five angles in slo-mo, it's not a goal.
Let pictures determine the call. And if the pictures say inconclusive, it shouldn't matter what the referee originally ruled.
It's not about embarrassing anyone. It's about making the best possible decision, which is the fairest way to treat everyone involved.
Right now, that system is not in place in the NHL.
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