Eastern Conference Semi's, Game 3, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York.
The Rangers have jumped out to a surprisingly commanding 1-0 lead over the Buffalo Sabres, who have a 2-0 in the series. Jaromir Jagr put the blueshirts ahead earlier in the game, and now New York continues to dominate the game. Marcel Hossa takes a pass from Jagr and neatly gives it to Karel Rachunek who takes the pass in his skates right in front of Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. He shoots and scores. Or so it appeared. Replays began to show the puck deflected off Rachunek's skate, as he was attempting to stop himself. It's incredibly difficult to judge if there is a distinct kicking motion. Rachunek and the Rangers believe they have scored, and the Sabres show little resistence until Lindy Ruff watches the replay on the screen at MSG. He tells his players to not lineup for the faceoff, so the goal must be reviewed.
The NHL must address this issue; especially this season, the question has come up quite often. Distinct or not? Accidental or purposely?
There's a simple answer. We don't know. We will never know. The fact is it's damn near impossible because human beings have the God-given ability to deceive the way their body reacts to an event. Video replay will never be able to interpret what's going on in a player's head when he's playing the game. So the NHL must make the call. And soon. Before more games are blown.
Either any kick/deflection counts, or it doesn't. No exceptions. None of this re-directing or manuevering. Make a call now.
For heaven's sake.