The strangest goal in a bad game

Jonathan Willis
January 12 2014 08:42PM

Edmonton lost to Chicago on Sunday night by a 5-3 score. It was entirely deserved; after a strong opening period by the Oilers the Blackhawks took over the second period and the game. Ales Hemsky wasted a good night where he did the heavy lifting on both of the Oilers’ two goals.

But the interesting thing is the other goal, the one Chicago gifted Edmonton with during a delayed penalty.

The “Boyd Gordon” Goal

We’ll get to scoring chances in a little bit; first I want to go over the goal. The rule for awarding an own-goal is described here (page 111):

Now, the rule says the player who “last touched the puck.” Here’s Boyd Gordon, at 9:19, clearing the puck out of Edmonton’s zone:

This is Devan Dubnyk, at 8:50, making a save on a Blackhawks’ shot:

This is Mark Arcobello, at 8:49, clearing the puck away from the front of the net:

And this is Martin Marincin at 8:41 batting the puck away from the net:

So there are three “possessions” between the Gordon clear and the goal. The penalty was called between Mark Arcobello clearing the net at 8:49 and Marincin batting the puck at 8:41, so there’s an argument to be made that one can’t credit the goal to Marincin – and as it would be Marincin’s first career NHL goal, I can’t say I especially mind if the scorer said ‘let’s not stick him with that one.’

However, Arcobello touched the puck before the delayed penalty. The only possible argument is that the scorer couldn’t conclusively decide that it was Arcobello’s stick that batted the puck away; the video seems pretty definite but with only one angle this is maybe arguable.

But, in that case, the goal should go to Devan Dubnyk, who made the save before Arcobello touched the puck. Dubnyk is credited with a save in the NHL play-by-play data, and there is precedent for a goalie being awarded the goal off a save (via Tyler Dellow):

Personally, I think it’s Arcobello’s goal – not only did he touch the puck last before the whistle, but in terms of virtue (ignoring the rules) he was the guy who followed the puck to the net and moved to get himself into a lane to prevent Chicago from preventing the goal. Regardless, it should not have gone to Gordon.

Scoring Chances and the Game Itself

In brief:

  • The second line got stomped by the ‘Hawks. By eye, Chicago matched Patrick Kane up against that line and that line couldn’t handle it; the only reason Mark Arcobello’s numbers are good is because when Dallas Eakins shuffled the lines the trio of Arcobello, Smyth and Perron had some excellent shifts.
  • The second pairing stands out here; Jeff Petry had some highly noticeable gaffes but in terms of chances for and against this was the duo that got the job done.
  • Nick Schultz should be sat after that game. Anton Belov probably should be too but there’s only room for one scratch and Schultz was worse tonight, has been worse lately, has worse numbers on the year, and wasn’t playing his off-side.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 SammyD
January 13 2014, 08:10PM
Trash it!
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BobbyCanuck wrote:

DO not think a historical comparision will yield the results you are looking for. A snap shot from 1991 to present may be the best, as any other historical comparison would have to take our 5 cups into consideration (which would make us one of the 7 or so best run franchises in NHL history)

I'm not looking for these results - a lunchtime conversation between hockey fans and non-hockey fans turned towards the current Oilers woes and how they stack up against other poor teams. Someone said what you are saying - that the Oilers couldn't be the all-time worst team because of all of their successes in the 80's.

Hence the question. How do you determine the all-time worst team? Can it even be defined?

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