For all the talk of Daniel Alfredsson's goal in game three, the issue of what a distinct kicking motion entails may be a moot point.
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After watching the replay dozens of times in super-slow motion on a top-quality HDTV, it appears the puck actually went in off Alfredsson's stick.
Stationed to the left of Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Alfredsson directed the puck towards the net with his skate. When the puck hit Alfredsson's skate, the puck was a couple of inches off the ice. At the highest point, the puck appears to be roughly 18 inches off the ice.
Two camera angles indicate Alfredsson may have got his stick on the puck at this point, although neither is conclusive.
What seems to be conclusive, however, is the direction change the puck takes. From the instant of likely contact, the puck quits angling upward and begins angling downward. The puck enters the net and hits the ice roughly two-thirds of the way between the goal line and the back of the net.
Considering the puck was clearly entering the net on an upward angle until the point of likely contact with Alfredsson's stick, the only way the direction changes is if the puck hits something. The only thing in the area was Alfredsson's stick.
If the puck hits Alfredsson's stick, it is unquestionably a goal.
So, regardless of varying opinions on whether the puck was struck with a distinct kicking motion or not, it appears the league came to the right call.
Listening to the league's rationale of the goal, however, nobody mentions it hit the stick. In many cases, the video review is done in standard definition, where the nuances are not as evident.
For the Stanley Cup Finals, the so-called war room in Toronto is not in use. Instead, the war room staff is sent out to the arenas, and they review the goals in-house. It is uncertain if Scotiabank Place's temporary war room reviews the goals in standard or high definition, but it would be a big step forward if all games were broadcast and reviewed in HD.
That day will come. Hopefully, it is sooner rather than later.
As far as the distinct kicking motion, that is another issue altogether. To many, a distinct kicking motion is what David Beckham does on a corner kick. To others, it means a player turns his foot to guide the puck into the net.
To say the rule is ambiguous is an understatement. In the old days, if it went off a skate, it was no goal. Slowly, it has evolved to the point where it is simply not clear whether or not a goal should count.
Seems like the competition committee might have another topic to discuss this summer.
POST-GAME COVERAGE IN U.S. NON-EXISTANT: Sure, many people complain Versus does not reach enough homes in the United States. Still, the vast majority of people are able to choose a cable or satellite provider that carries the channel, considering FCC regulations prevent condo or home owners associations from prohibiting digital satellite dishes.
Through the first two games of the Stanley Cup, viewers received a 30-minute pre-game show, a 30-minute post game show, and the NHL Network's 60-minute NHL On the Fly show on Versus.
Then comes game three. No pre-game or post-game show on NBC -- not even a single player interview following the game. To make matters worse, NHL On the Fly was not shown on Versus, and it is not scheduled to be shown through the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals.
As a result, American viewers did not see highlights, press conferences, or analysis of game three. Unlike Canadian networks, which do a great job of covering hockey, the NHL is almost invisible on national sports shows in the United States.
Why not switch over to Versus for a pre-game or a post-game show? Why does Versus not continue showing NHL On the Fly, regardless of where the game is televised?
If this is part of the NHL's television package, the league is shortchanging American-based fans. If it is the decision of Versus, the network is shortchanging the league and their fans.
Either way, the fans lose. Unfortunately, it is something that is becoming commonplace for hockey fans residing in the United States.
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