NHL Review System needs an Overhaul

“After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that the actions of Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse caused Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler to contact Talbot before the puck crossed the goal line. The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7 (ii) which states, in part, “that the goal on the ice should have been allowed because (ii) the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper.”

That was the NHL’s decision to allow the Ducks to tie the game with 15 seconds remaining.

There is no doubt Nurse pushed Kesler into the crease. Everyone agrees on that, but it seems those in the NHL’s situation room believe once you are pushed into the crease all bets are off.

It is the only logical explanation, because how else can you explain the league allowing Kesler to hold Talbot’s pad, which clearly restricted him from getting up?

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I can’t.

The only other explanation is that those reviewing it didn’t see it, similar to the Hockey Night panel. The original response from Ron Maclean, Nick Kypreos and Kelly Hrudey was they all thought it was a good goal. They only changed their tune after Elliott Friedman pointed out Kesler’s grab.

I was watching the game with three of my friends, and on the first replay every one of us said, “look at Kesler grab the pad.”

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We thought it was rather obvious, but those in charge of the video review didn’t.

Considering how quickly they ruled it a goal. I believe there is a good chance they were so focused on Nurse pushing/contacting Kesler into the crease that they missed the obvious pad grab.

That can’t happen. If they take seven to ten minutes in a regular season game in December to review a goal, why are they suddenly making a decision in record time in May, in a massively important playoff game?

For me, this is a systematic issue, not a referee issue.

I thought the game was called quite well. I wouldn’t expect the officials to catch the pad grab in real time, because they didn’t have the luxury of an overhead camera angle. However, the review process allowed them a different angle. And from the above angle, it was clear Kesler’s hand was inside the top of the pad for an extended period of time and there was one motion where he seemed to pull the pad.

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I believe officiating the game in real-time is extremely difficult, but the review process should not be this confusing.

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My main concern is I doubt the NHL truly wants to fix it.

The National Football League has similar issues with determining what is a catch or not. It has been going on for years, and if the biggest sports league in North America is okay with having mass confusion on deciphering what is a catch, I’m certain the NHL will remain equally inept in finding consistency on goaltender interference.

I don’t believe this is a conspiracy against Edmonton, instead it illustrates the utter incompetence of the NHL’s review process. They clearly believe the original infraction overrules any subsequent actions.

There is no doubt Nurse pushed Kesler in the crease, but Nurse did not make Kesler grab Talbot’s pad. Each action is separate, yet based on their decision last night it is clear the NHL operations staff doesn’t see it this way.

And I guarantee it won’t be solved over the summer. The NHL will do their usual review. They will hold meetings, and smile at the camera and say they are working to improve replays, but their past history proves they prefer to have controversy and inconsistency when it comes to video review.

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  • I applaud Todd McLellan’s ability to remain calm and poised on the bench and in his post-game presser. McLellan had to remain calm, externally anyway, once the call was made. The game was tied and OT was looming. He did not want his team to unravel, and it worked. The Oilers controlled the first OT, but couldn’t score. After the game he didn’t complain, instead he complimented his team on a great effort, which was accurate. It is hard to criticize Leon Draisaitl for blocking consecutive shots, and have the second one deflect off his back into the net.McLellan’s restraint shouldn’t be looked at as not caring. Yelling, screaming and ranting wouldn’t change the call, but McLellan obviously didn’t like the call.”We’re disappointed, but we can’t be mad at anybody… Interference? You’re asking the wrong guy, I don’t know what it is anymore,” said McLellan in a much calmer tone than most could have mustered.
  • NHL operations inability to see past Nurse pushing Kesler in the crease is akin to those who think Kris Russell isn’t a good player, beause they can’t look past his Corsi. Russell was incredible last night. I don’t care what his Corsi was, because if you can show me video evidence of him making more bad plays than good I’d love to see it. He blocked shots, he took a massive hit and came back. He used his speed to break up plays and he competed extremely hard all night. If you think Russell isn’t good because of one inaccurate statistic, then you are as stubborn, or as clueless, as those running the video review last night. You are so committed to your believe in one statistic, it doesn’t allow you to process what actually unfolded on the ice.
  • The game up until the missed review was a classic. It must be incredibly gut-wrenching for the players and I know fans are crushed. Game six in Edmonton will be electric.
  • I was very impressed with Leon Draisaitl’s performance last night. He switched back to centre in the biggest game of the season and made it look easy. I don’t think there is any doubt he is best suited as a centre, mainly because it gives the Oilers and outstanding one-two punch down the middle for years to come. I’d keep the lines the same for game six.
  • Andrej Sekera’s injury is a big blow. It didn’t look good when he left the ice and if he can’t play in game six, it creates changes in two pairings. If they bring in Eric Gryba, then one of him or Matt Benning will be in the second pair with Russell, who will move to the left side. Or I wonder if they bring in Jordan Oesterle or Griffin Reinhart, leave Russell on the right side on the 2nd pair and move up Nurse. What pairs would you run out for game six?
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  • Oiler Al

    Poor puck control from the face offs, lead to two quick goals and that allowed the Ref’s to make a decision on the outcome of the game. Lets face we could not hold a 3 goal lead for 3 minutes, and that why we lost. Note: Just before the Ducks scored the third of the troika, the puck pupped out for a sec., and neither #55 or 91 tried clearing it away from the goal crease.

    • Father of the Marshalsea

      That argument is absurd, if the ducks had scored the first 2 goals of the game and then the Oilers came back and scored three the situation would be abstractly the same, the refs still messed up and lost the Oilers the game. What the Oilers or the Ducks did before the event is irreverent.

  • JimmyV1965

    Sorry Gregs, but I really disagree about Tmac’s post game presser. He needed to go nuclear on the refs in the post-game interview. I have no idea what he said in private, but for the sake of his players, he needed to go full meltdown on the refs in the post-game interview. Not the standard, “I don’t know what interference is anymore.” He needed to be passionate in the defence of his players.

    He had an opportunity to switch the focus from the team’s massive collapse to the league’s awful officiating. He chose not to. It doesn’t even matter if he’s right or wrong. He needs to create an us versus them feeling in the dressing room and he didn’t do that.

    The players would respect a coach who goes to bat for them in public and it galvanizes them against a common enemy. I hate to say it, but if this was Babcock he would have went ballistic long ago. The failure to do this is a failure on part of the coach.

    As a coach, TMac needs to get that loss out of the heads of his players. He had a perfect opportunity to do that and chose not to. The team should be rallying against the refs, rather than focusing on their own poor play.

  • Harry2

    Very well said regarding Russell. The entire Oilers team( some much more than others) played a very gutsy game last night. I was very impressed.

    I also went to bed with a 3-0 lead and 6 mins left in the 3rd…..

  • NHL Hockey Operations staff and Referee

    In accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7, the goal on the ice was allowed because Kesler was pushed by Nurse, causing Kesler to come into contact with the goalkeeper and hug Talbot`s leg.'”

    The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7 (ii) which states, in part, ‘that the goal on the ice should have been allowed because (ii) the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper.'”

    • NHL Hockey Operations staff and Referee

      After being pushed or shoved into a goalkeeper, the attacking Player is allowed to grab the goalkeeper. Grabbing Talbot`s leg was simply coming into contact. This is permitted and it`s a good goal. Time to move on folks.

      • Jaxon

        You’re so full of sh*t. You’re not “allowed” to grab a goalie just because you were pushed there. No rule says that. Once you get pushed into a goalie, it doesn’t give you the right to stay there or grab the goalie. Kesler made no attempt to get up. Instead he gives a few tugs on Talbot’s pad. And Kesler wasn’t even the only interfering! Perry was also in on the fun. He too, gave an extra push to Talbot after he was down, thereby pushing Talbot out of position. This is not “permitted” where are you getting your facts? “Coming into contact” is NOT “grabbing or holding”. By that logic in game play away from the goaltender, if a defender hits you into one of his teammates, you would be permitted to hold that teammate without repercussions. That’s not how the rules work. At least that’s clearly not the intention of the rule and no referee could try to argue that without getting laughed out of the arena by his colleagues.

      • slats-west

        The Rule is (if you read it and didn’t spend so much time on your shiny icon) is if you are pushed into the net no harm no foul. However, the rule also says you have to make an effort now too remove yourself from the crease and or from the situation – YOU CANNOT STAY THERE – regardless of what put you there.

        So if you look at Nurse he gets up and gets away from Kessler and the crease, Kessler does not, in fact he stays for over 3 seconds. He initiates more contact and then hooks the pad. The initial contact that got him in the crease is not GI, however the hook is. Perry btw just does GI on his own on the same play but not sure how many incidences you need to disallow 1 goal/play.

        There now you can move along.

    • McDavid's Comet

      Ok, basically Kesler was provided the opportunity to cheat in such a manner that it wasn’t cheating. However when the Oilers do the same thing it’s called a penalty and goal disallowed.

      That is why experts, highly reputable analysts, players, coaches, managers and just about everyone that has been watching this series other than the Anaheim Refs….. have any clue as to what constitutes as goalie interference.

      Thanks for that completely useless bit of info.; it was never a question of why the goal counted but the question of why the rule only applies to one of two teams playing in this series.

      Can you answer that question smartA$$?

      • NHL Hockey Operations staff and Referee

        The rule applies to both teams. If an Oilers player were to be pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the Oilers Player to come into contact and grab and hold the goalkeeper, the goal on the ice would be allowed.

        • Not a First Tier Fan

          Except for the countless times during the regular season and once in the post-season where it wasn’t ruled that way for the Oilers. Or for the Flames when they played the Ducks.

          Just sayin…

        • a-twig

          oh and while we’re on the topic, remember literally 2 games ago when Letestu was pushed into Gibson and they ruled it goalie interference when he was CLEARLY pushed? Weird, right?

        • Not a First Tier Fan

          If this is really folks in NHL Operations I just want to say you guys are cowardly snivelling sacks of crap. I’d be happy to meet with you sometime to discuss the effect that the biased officiating is having on the post-season this year.

          If it’s just a troll the go f*ck yourself.

    • a-twig

      My comment appears to have been lost to the void, but I’ll bring the main point back: the rulebook states the goal is good so long as the player is pushed to “come into contact with the goalkeeper”. That’s fine and good. The problem here lies with the fact that Kesler doesn’t just “come into contact” with Talbot, he holds Talbot’s blocker for several seconds, opens up the 5 hole, gives his teammate an opening to score. It’s cut and dry goalkeeper interference, which the refs obviously missed given how fast their review was. Unfortunate, but it is what it is. I just hope we get more proficient refs in game 6.

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    This is so well put Gregor, and I would like to go one further and state that to all Corsi knows best at any and all cost crowd (specifically Matt Henderson and Lowetide) YOU OWE KRIS RUSSELL a humongous public apology for your disrespect and putrididity that came at times he may have had a bad game but unfailingly wouldn’t acknowledge him on the good night. I’m pointing my finger at Henderson here but LT you were absolutely undermining him on a daily basis. For all of you rhetoric about supporting ALL of our Oilers I sure didn’t see that from you refarding his play. NO mention of the sheer will and courage he displayed nightly throughout the season. As I said previously… time to rescind your believe in this false idol of a statistic. It might speak to the performance of a team or even a line, but to base your evaluation of a defensive defensemen on it is beyond asinine. Give your heads a giant shake. I encourage you to THINK and WATCH and if you’re so hellbent on the math then start going with numbers that actually mean something. Hello Performance Analytics.
    I hope the Oilers find the money for him because he’s as good a defensive option as we have right now.

    • srelio

      This comment triggers me, everything from the accusatory tone to the sweeping generalizations and annoying capitalization of RANDOM words. Its as if you specifically tailored it to annoy me… also i disagree with a few points but thats another matter entirely .

  • Rob19

    I am kinda mixed in this….
    Sure I think the reffing has been more than suspect but no way should our guys let any team score 3 goals in under 4 minutes in the 3rd period of any game regardless of calls, let alone a round 2 game 5- ridiculous. That is the biggest elephant in the room when we put bias aside. Where was our timeout after 1st or 2nd Ducks goal? Jeez…reactive vs proactive lesson here bigtime….On the bright side our guys are learning a lot and will keep growing into more of a constant contender. I hate the Ducks.


  • Hemmercules

    If the Oilers get eliminated I’m done watching anymore of this playoffs. The officiating is so bush league, I don’t even know what is or isn’t a penalty anymore. I realize it’s playoffs and they let a ton of stuff go but it’s just so ridiculously inconsistent. Hard loss but what can you do but move on and hope for the best, can’t change the outcome of that game and you know the NHL won’t do diddly squat about improving it in the future. I feel a bit cheated and it’s not even over, it feels almost insurmountable at the moment with the way this round has been going with all the strange calls and terrible reviews. Still cheering hard and I think they can force this game 7, they surely deserve it.

  • Flint

    Impartial viewer here. In fact, between the Ducks and Oilers, I would choose Oilers.

    For every Oilers fans here arguing that Kesler “bear-hugged” Talbots pad, once being knocked into the crease by Nurse, there would be a Ducks fan arguing that Kesler, was being continuously pounded by Nurse and then hog tackled by him.

    Reality is likely more in the middle and once Kesler had been knocked into the crease by Nurse, he was on his hands and knees, and Talbots pad momentarily hooks around Keslers arm, which is then not the case within… it’s tough to say… 2.6 seconds? as Kesler raises to his knees and then is headlock tackled by Nurse, who himself fell in the same way onto his hands and knees (both holding their sticks with two hands, push-up style).

    Those encounters are chaos, with arms and legs and sticks flying everywhere, and those are big strong dudes shovingeach other down. We’re debating this days after the incident, are the refs, who have to make a decision in seconds going to with all certainty, declare that Kesler was intentionally grabbing Talbots leg (vs getting tangled) and that that in no significant way was initiated by, or further enabled by Nurse’s physical contact?

    Hell, they couldn’t even get the goal right! Watch the sticks in front! Kesler is one of the biggest jackasses in Hockey, but not only is he, in the opinion of Oilers fans, doing nothing but intentionally interfereing with Talbot?, he’s also doing a good job of keeping his eye on the puck and I think it’s fair to say by luck, is the one that deflects the puck between Talbot’s legs.

  • Randaman

    What I don’t get is the NHL signed a big deal with Rogers to be the broadcaster/promoter in Canada (the home of hockey). Just about all of the commentators, color anaylists, Cherry, and whoever else in the media that commented on both instances in game 4 & 5 has said they were bullshit calls. Nothing from the league at all. WEAK!!

    • McDavid's Comet

      I can recall all whining fLames fans after being swept by the Anaheim Refs, you being one of them. Enjoy all those prospect write-ups, they must be fascinating reads. Lol