First, the disallowed goal. At 6:24 of the second period, Brad May was in the slot and sent a backhand on goal. The puck went directly over the line and sat between the pad of Alex Auld and the padding at the side of the net. The whistle clearly did not sound for a second or two, and when it did, the referee said no goal. This is an understandable mistake as from his vantage point, he could not see the puck. But through the miracle of science, the NHL has video replay. As a matter of fact, they have a 'room' in Toronto that watches every game in progress and assists the on ice officials in cases of video replay. The first replay that was shown during the game clearly showed the puck crossing the line immediately. Auld never stopped it, slowed it down and deflected it. It went over the line, hit his toe and was stopped by the side of the net. So this should have been a clear goal when it was reviewed in Toronto.
But the referee 'had the intent to blow the whistle' which is the most ridiculous bit of nonsense I think I have heard. Even in the case where the referee did actually have intent to blow the whistle to stop the play, he hasn't and the play is still live. But in this case especially, it's truly awe inspiring that the referee had the intent to blow the whistle on a live play (May in the slot with the puck), or a shot that went directly over the goal line. Why does the on ice official have the power to make that call in today's age of video replay? And if he has this power to overrule undeniable video evidence of a goal, why is the NHL spending however many millions of dollars using the equipment? I for one feel clearer lines have to be drawn in regards to the 'intent to blow the whistle' scenario.
Second, the May/Barch fight that happened a little over a minute later. Now, for the record, I have no problem with fighting in hockey. I don't want to get into a discussion about whether fighting is wrong or right, that's not the point of what I'm about to say. As I said, I have no problem with fights in hockey, but I am beginning to develop an issue with pointless preplanned fights. Players who sign their fight card in the pregame, talk about it in the first period and then go through with it in the second period.
During the pregame warm up, Krys Barch skated over to Brad May twice. They shared a few words, apparently a few laughs and then went about their warm up. During the first period, Barch again skated up to May and said a few words. May shook his head "no" and motioned to his head. And then in the second period, at 7:21 while the puck was being recovered on a dump in, the fight started.
So what changed between the first and second periods that would make Brad May change his mind and decide to fight? Well, the score was closer, he had just had the above mentioned goal disallowed, and he wasn't wearing a visor this period. Yeah, he took his visor off his helmet for the second period. When he came out in the first, visor on. Second, visor off. Third, visor back on. To me, that's a clear sign of a premeditated fight, not one brought about for any other reason but for the fight itself. I don't understand the point of that kind of fight. They're not fighting with the intent to fire up the team, they're not 'righting' some past wrong, they're just throwing punches at each other.
I may be making this seem a little hard on Brad May, which is not my intention. I think May did what he would hope anyone fighting him would do and took off the visor for the fight. To even up the discussion a little bit, I'll leave with these bits of information about his opponent in the fight, and likely the person who made the arrangements during pregame, Krys Barch -
- Krys Barch missed about 2 weeks because of a back injury
- Been back for 3 games: Nov 12 (SJ), 14 (PHO) and 18 (DET)
- Has averaged about 6:45 ice time over those three games
- Has 1 shot on goal in those 3 games
- Has a fighting major in each of those games...