Chris Rants: Icing on the Cake

Edmonton is pretty fired up right now and rightfully so. I’m all for ripping apart the hideous officiating we saw last night, this series, and throughout the playoffs. However, I want to bring up the “missed icing” call that lead to the OT winner last night. I think Oilersnation is looking a little too deep into this call, and I want to share some of my thoughts.

Like I said… refs = bad. I’m not defending them here, but I think we should take a step back on how hard we criticize them for this last icing call and maybe look at the poor clearing attempt, poor defensive coverage, and maybe a bad line change too. Let’s take a look:

I’ve watched this goal about 75 times this morning so I’m going to start off with what I see. Getzlaf makes a pass attempt from his own zone to Jakob Silfverberg who misses the puck entirely. The puck passes Oscar Klefbom down into the zone and icing is waved off. Klefbom passes the puck up the boards to Larsson, who is, unfortunately, trying to avoid the referee during his clearing attempt and Ryan Getzlaf intercepts the puck. He then makes the pass across to an open Silfverberg who potted the OT winner. *soft whimpering*

I think it’s important to note that a linesman’s job is to wave an icing call as quick as possible. He wants to avoid a potentially dangerous play at the end-boards having two players collide when at the same time the puck crosses the goal line. So for technicality sake… the linesmen did his job here by waving the icing early while the puck crossed the blue line passing Klefbom.

Now before you yell at me, I think it’s ALSO important to note that the linesmen without a doubt misjudged the speed of the puck, and assumed the play would catch up to the puck before the goal line. The challenge for the linesman is to correctly match the speed of the puck and speed of the play while trying to make his decision as quick as possible on whether or not they’ll catch up to each other. Unfortunately, he got it wrong here. Klefbom was also skating backwards and didn’t turn immediately as the puck passed him which may be another reason why the linesman waved off the icing.

Alright sure, the linesmen blew the call, but in this situation the call is subjective and there has to be some margin for error. [PS – I used to think goalie interference and offside calls were objective, but now I don’t know what to think anymore]. Anyways, contrary to popular belief, I don’t think anybody really quit playing on this shift. We had two forwards go for a change at the bench, which can be considered a bad line change, but from what I see from the highlight, Klefbom and Larsson chase the puck down with the proper intensity that they should. This is the benefit of having the linesmen wave the icing off as early as possible.

After that comes a poor defensive clear from Adam Larsson – who granted, was forced to skate around the referee – and even worse defensive coverage on Jakob Silfverberg. Besides the two forwards who went for a line change, everyone on the ice at this point had their eyes on the puck, and in no way showed that they were waiting for an icing whistle. Silfverberg slipped behind the net, found some open space in the slot, and the rest is history.

I’m no coach and have a hard time making sense of how the Oilers could have gotten out of this situation. Could Klefbom have done a better job shadowing Silfverberg behind the net? Could Larsson have done a better job of clearing the puck? Could Lucic, who was at the end of his shift, positioned himself in front of Getzlaf instead of falling behind?

Let me know in the comments what you think of the icing call, and how the Oilers could have got themselves out of that play.

  • Should it have been icing? I’d say yes. Maybe I’m just used to watching WHC hockey this time of year where they religiously call icing by the book with little to no subjectivity.

    Did it affect how the Oilers played it? Probably not. But by the very nature of it not being called, it sure affected the outcome…as we all know.

  • tileguy

    Could the linesman have done a better job of matching spped of the puck with the speed of the play? Yes! It was the original mistake of the linesman that started these tragic events. To me this was the most egregious of the 3 calls that went against our team and decided the game.

  • thelinedriver86

    I will never agree anymore when someone says just “let them play, it’s playoff hockey” How about playoff hockey having rules that are completely followed to the letter. Not just when the ref feels like it’s the best for the game. Also no more in game refs reviewing the calls. It’s human nature it believe you made the right call and to not want to tell everyone you made a mistake. Third party official reviews only.

    • Oiler fan in Dallas

      I could not agree more, letting the ref that made the call “review” the call is like letting a doctor be the judge in his own malpractice lawsuit. All reviews should go to Toronto.

  • Rishaug was saying today that NHL D men are experts at working refs for icing in this situation. He thinks Klefbom turned the wrong way on purpose and the ref wasn’t buying it.

    Doesn’t matter though. If they had been working over Getzlaf as much as he’s on McDavid during the actual game instead of basically giving him a free pass we might have won it in regular time. As it is right now we’re basically letting him run our show.

  • Ty Guy

    the best way out of the whole mess of last night would have been to give Ebs some popcorn and a seat….i defended that guy here multiple times….thats over now.

    • toprightcorner

      Because the site that The Nation bought from Andrew Storen allowed swearing. When it first went live as Jays Nation, almost all of his very large audience were very upset about it and the clicks dropped off significantly. They allowed those fans of that site to swear again and the click went back to normal. It was grandfathered in and I am fine with that. Only morons need to swear to get their point across.

  • btrain

    I have no issue with the icing as it was more of a hindsight situation as everyone watching and more importantly everyone playing, didn’t react like it was an icing. As for the play, in my opinion Larsson should have been more aware of where the best player on the ice was and simply bumped the puck back to Kelfbom who I have to assume stayed in the corner for just that option. Perhaps Kelfbom should have yelled something in his mother tongue to his brother Swede to inform him of this. In any regard, Eberle, Russel, Klefbom, Larson, Lucic & RNH all made costly errors by not being aware of or in a position to defend #15 and it cost them this game regardless of the missed calls. Give Getzlaf credit as he made them pay every time, but it couldn’t have been made any easier for him. I rank the following as all equally awful plays:
    1. Eberle’s blunder
    2. Russell’s attempt to break up a pass behind the net. This ended up screwing with Klefbom’s anticipation of where the puck was going, taking him away from the eventual goal scorer and it conveniently ended up being a perfect between the legs pass to an open Getzlaf.
    3. Klefbom not checking Rackell or block his pass to the front of the net on the third goal and RNH’s indecision and lack of 15 awareness in front of the net.
    4. Larsson’s OT blunder that never needed to happen.

    I get the anger toward Eberle, but as TMac said, he was not the only one who made a mistake. We move on with a best of 3! Not a unrealistic position to be in considering the opponent.

  • Alberta Ice

    Hey, the Ducks got several similar calls favoring them in the Flames series too. A call taking away a goal or a call allowing a goal for the Flames could have changed that whole series too. Duck luck or Feather brained calls? Or do good teams find a way in the midst of controversial calls? The Oil need to find a way – and quickly.

  • slats-west

    If you look at the play, who was involved and when it was made you will note the following.
    1. He was well behind the red line when he back hands it.
    2. It was Silverberg who is quite speedy and thought he could chip and retrieve
    3. When – the problem start of a period – fresh ice – the puck gets away on him and Oilers D and goes faster than expected.

    To me this has been icing all year.

    Put it this way if that is Kassian on the dump and chase bearing down on Fowler in full flight about to put him thru the boards – how it called? Icing. No question. Sorry it would be reviewed no goal and declared icing. Corrected!!

  • toprightcorner

    Here is why Chris is wrong.

    If the linesman is supposed to prevent a potential injury in a race for the puck, he blows the whistle at the hash marks if the defending player gets there first. Klefbom clearly got there first. Waving off a goal with as close as they were actually increased the chance of a dangerous colission.

    Sure a linesman can wave it off if he thinks the defender is not skating fast enough to reach the puck, Klefbom was obviously skating as hard as he could because he had Silverberg right on his tail. so that is not the reason it was waved off.

    Lastly, if the linesmen beleives the puck won’t cross the line by the time the defending player touches it, he can wave it off. But that is only in the case of the defender coming back and is not in the race for the puck. In a race for the puck that would be a close play and possible injury, the whistle is blown at the hashmarks so it doesn’t matter if the puck may have a slim possibility to cross the line. Klefbom also didn’t tough the puck until after it ricochet off the back boards, meaning it wasn’t even remotely close to being touched before crossing the red line.

    The worst part about it is when a linesman waves it off, he is supposed to yell out NOOOOOOO, signifying to the players not looking at the linesman that it was called off. If that happened, Larsson would have cut towards the net so he takes his positionbetween Klefbom and the net, this is standard practice with Larsson not the one chasing the puck. You can see in the replay that he actually slowed down thinking it was icing and when the whistle wasn’t blown, he was out of position and by that point it was better to go to the corner instead of the front of the net. If the linesman yells No, Larsson imeadiatly goes to the front of the net watching Silverberg as he come around the back of the net.

    There was no legitimate reason for the icing to be waved off and even though his stupidity took over and he did wave it off, he didn’t yell it out to notify all of the players not looking at him. You year the linesmen yell that out all the time throughout the game, but not that time.

  • toprightcorner

    I am certain that the linesman that botched that icing call took the short bus to the rink and he probably wears his hickey helmet everywhere he goes. Only someone who is intellectually delayed would make a call like that.

  • Spydyr

    Lucic had just battled hard in the Ducks zone and was fatigued. You are taught in pee-wee as a winger to be in down low in front of the defenceman in your zone. Todd has been preaching about being on the right side of the puck all year. IMO Lucic should have been in position to chip the puck out and wasn’t.

  • Dean Martin

    Icing, ref in the way of the clearing attempt, whatever… This game was lost in the 2nd period, when the whole team didn’t show up… What happened to that play in the first??? To my eye, the ducks didn’t play better. The Oil is in deep now…
    You only get so many bounces.