Puck Podcast – November 21, 2009

On this week’s show we’ll talk about a tough week for some NHL referees and the return to the ice by a pair of Russian superstars. We’ll also tell you in the opening period about a couple of streaks coming to an end, the end of a career for a future hall of famer and a ridiculous fight not on the ice but in the seats between fans this week. In the third period we’ll give some more tickets away to an NHL game and read some listener feedback as well.

MP3 File

About Doug Stolhand 27034 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.


  1. Okay, so I am 15 mins into this week’s Podcast and I am still sitting at the computer, so I already have to chime in on the Kings-Tampa Bay interference goal. I saw this game as well and thought the Lightining had won it as it was rather obvious, to me, that O’Donnell was responsible for contact. Of course, we all know what happened. But why was the goal called by the referee and why isn’t it reviewable. Well, there is an answer for each. As the puck gets closer to the net, the ref behind the line would ONLY be focused on the puck and where it is in relation to the line and the goaltender. Even if he saw the goalie fall to the ice, I would not expect him to be focused as to why the goalie is flopping to the ice. He MAY see it out of his perephial vision, but I would not expect that ref to see that interference play well enough to make a call. And, is that not why the NHL went to the two-referee system? The other ref would be expected to be watching the players as his offical partner on the other side of the zone watches the puck. It was the ref near the line that blew the call. The goalie ref would have no choice really but to call it a goal as he would not have seen anything but the puck crossing the line. To think that he would have the wherewithal to not call it on the ice, to think quickly enough that there was contact SOMEWHERE around the crease and wave it off until a conference can be called, is whishful thinking at best. If that were true, no goal would be called immediately in any game.

    As to review, it can only be used for a “definitive action,” such as the puck crossing the line. There are few of these actions in a game. The puck crossing the line. Offsides. Defensive delay of game for the puck over the glass in the d zone. The call of interference, although it is defined within the rule book, is still a JUDGEMENT call by the officals. While one ref and one linesman may think that Sean O’Donnell did not push the Tampa defender, the other linesman may believe he did and the ref near the goal did not see it. One ref’s chaarging call may not synch up with another. Or cross-checking. Etc, etc. You cannot allow the review system to allow officals to re-make judgment calls made on the ice in the flow of the game. We would have to stop the game over and over. If we want to say that we should allow that review for an OT game winning possibility, then it opens up the Pandora’s Box of questions as to why we cannot in the third period as well. Or the second. Or why not review everything once a game is tied? Or in a one goal game? To start to tinker with the review process may, in some stretch, change the way the game is played. Again, it’s a stretch, but I do not want to start down that road unless we absolutely have to.

    Tampa got screwed and the Kings got an extra point they did not deserve. If any of the playoff posistions come to involve those teams and is decided by one point… But there is a human element to the game. We WANT to get it right every time, but that is inpossible. Calls are going to get blown and we will have to live with them.

  2. The NHL should have instated a “Challenge Play” ability for coaches by now. Too many games are blown on a missed call, or a wrong call. Beyond the Tampa situation, Ian White of the Leafs was called for a high-sticking double-minor in the Leafs/Canes game this past week, when the replay showed the Canes player was high-sticked by his own teammate, and that White’s stick made no contact. White made it known that the refs had the wrong guy, but the call had already been decided upon. Sure enough, Gleason scored on the PP to tie the game up, and the Leafs eventually lost.

    Each coach should have 1 challenge a game. If the coach that challenges is correct, they get their challenge back and the wrong call is overruled. If, however, the original call stands, the team that demanded the challenge is hit with a 2 minute delay of game penalty.

    It blows my mind that something like that hasn’t been thrown into the hat yet… Enough of this human error B.S… Technology has advanced enough to almost wipe this sort of thing out, and it’s about time the NHL utilized its tools to the fullest.

  3. I think that most of these problems could be solved by putting a chip in the puck to determine when and if it crosses the line. I do not think that GPS is accurate enough but I think all they would need to do is bury a wire in the ice and around the cage.

  4. Ya, I’ve always thought that would be the way to go as well, Mathew. It really would be pretty simple to pull it off. Just put a sensor inside the puck, and a detector through the posts. When the circuit through the posts is broken by the sensor in the puck, it then notifies the goal judge (or whoever) that the puck has passed through the goal-line. Good-bye inconclusive calls.

  5. I’ve been calling for that technology for years and I still think the GPS would not only help decide whether or not a goal had been scored but also help determine whether or not a puck was redirected with a high stick. This would help immensely when the puck was under the goalie or in his glove. The technology is there and yet the human element would still be there as the ref could still blow the whistle when he loses sight of the puck and, of course, could interpret whether a hit or play was legal or not.

  6. Having replay and chips ruins the whole aspect of the game. Good or bad: Human error is part of the nature of any game. We all make mistakes. But for every one bad or missed call the refs make hundreds of correct calls. Just let it alone.

  7. Would the sensor not have to placed around the ring of the puck, as the whole puck has to cross the line? Or could the dimensions of the puck be read from a sensor placed in the middle of the puck?

    But, no challenges, please. If the penalty for asking for a challenge that ends up upholding the on-ice call is two minutes of PK time, I don’t think that too many coaches would use it anyway. And, what would be reviewable? As of right now, I can only think that offsides and defensive delay of game plays as being reviewable (at least in the catagory of plays that are not ALREADY able to be reviewed). In the case of offsides, I would never challenge it as the other team has the same chance of winning the ensuing faceoff. Delay of game would be a challenge I might make. But if I am wrong, is it a 5 on 3? Or a double minor? Not likely to “throw the red flag” on that one, either.

    The point of the blown calls discussed in this week’s shows was not the review itself, but THE OFFICALS ON THE ICE not making use of it correctly. In the case of the Tampa Bay call, no review was going to stop the ref at the blue line from calling interference. It is a non-reviewable call as it is a judgement call. The Brad May “goal” should have been allowed through review as we can all hear when the whistle blew (is the whistle even reviewable?), but was blown because the offical did not want to go to the review at all. This is not a problem with review or invokes any need for MORE review. This is a problem with the officiating.

    In the case of the May goal and the “Intent To Whistle” garbage, I have to ask, why do the officals still use whistles anyway? If we want to introduce some new technology to the sport, is there not some hand-held noise making device the officals can use? As soon as they want to “blow the whistle,” BAM! Press down a thumb, or close a fist, whatever, and it’s done. No extraneous movement to bring the whistle to the mouth, eliminating the “intent” clause that was used as the out in the May goal debacle.

    I think David is right that we are trying so hard to bring up what is wrong with the game so often that we are not focusing on what is right enough. We all do point out the positive on this board, on the FB page and Eddie and Doug do on the show as well, but it does not seem to have the same fervor as when something “wrong” happens.

    But that’s some of the fun of sports, too, no?

  8. Switching gears here to mix it up a bit – great show as we have come to expect from the Puck Podcast but, and there always seems to be a “but”, I just wanted to comment on Doug and Eddie’s discussion of the “Hockey 101” segment that aired during the intermission of the Coyotes game last week.

    My biggest problem with the whole thing is this: This is the Coyotes’ 11th year in Phoenix!! I mean, I could see if they were an expansion team that had come to /or moved to a non-traditional hockey market but come on! This is something you do the first year or two to attract fans who don’t know a puck from a shoulder pad – if you’re still explaining what icing is 11 years down the road, not to mention still looking for a fan base then the interest is clearly not there. I wish it was for the fans that the Coyotes do have, but how long do we pretend that Phoenix is still a viable hockey market? This is a classic case of too little, too late.

    Also, the suggestion that you should call up a friend who doesn’t know or like hockey and try and pursuade him or her to turn on the game and start learning is nothing short of preposterous. It’s over in Phoenix. Nothing the league does is going to change that fact, because it’s clear that the majority of the population of Phoenix couldn’t care less if there is an NHL franchise there or not. Maybe they could try the glowing puck again. 😉

  9. Excuse me, I just checked the Coyotes’ website and they moved there in ’96, so they’re actually in their 13th year. That’s…..even worse.

  10. Mark,
    Thanks for the comments – we will address those on the show this coming week. Hope all is well in Denmark!


  11. Dave Nelson,

    The same thing could be said about the cameras that they now have placed in the goal to try and make calls. Basically a tracking mechanism in the puck would serve the same purpose as the cameras only that it has the added ability to ignore obstacles that block line of sight.

    If anything it would speed up the game because the War Room wouldn’t have to spend large amounts of time trying to interpret video.

  12. Mark … regarding this comment, “Also, the suggestion that you should call up a friend who doesn’t know or like hockey and try and pursuade him or her to turn on the game and start learning is nothing short of preposterous.” I couldn’t disagree more. In fact I’d argue that comment to be more preposterous than the idea of finding new fans.

    I personally have taken a half dozen or so friends that have never watched hockey before to a game and they have come away with anything from an appreciation for the game and a passing interest in what happens to die hard fan. I myself am one that was a football guy that saw a live game and now am die-hard hockey and absolutely love the game.

    There are always chances to bring new fans into the game. Whether its a lack of understanding, a lack of exposure, or whatever … a little exposure can go a long ways.

    I’ll admit that it is much more difficult to get someone interested by having them tune in on the tv, but getting them to live games certainly can and will normally have an impact. No one I’ve ever taken to a game has come away not enjoying the experience (including my grandmother when I took my entire family to a game for x-mas a few years back).

    Saying that trying to turn someone on to the game is just short sited. There are fans to be had everywhere with just some exposure. Everyone gets a start somewhere. Take it from a Western Nebraska guy who went from being a guy with just a little passing interest to someone who is die-hard hockey now…

  13. I might as well touch on the other couple points brought up above as well since I’m here…

    The “intent to blow the whistle” … way too arbitrary. It needs changes to be that the play ends when the whistle is blown. Generally it’d only be fractions of a second later anyway and it becomes a much more solid point of reference. It’s much easier to know when it blows rather than when it was meant to be blown.

    The idea for some sort of handheld buzzer while interesting may have drawbacks as well such as a ref falling and squeezing accidentally setting it off and ending a play or something. You can’t accidentally blow a whistle … and besides, I kinda like the whistle so let’s keep it. 🙂

    On the topic of review and challenges, I think while the system isn’t perfect I think it’s pretty good. Judgement calls shouldn’t be reviewable in my opinion, but definitive things such as the puck crossing the line should be.

    The area that I see big problems with though if we open up further to say offsides or the puck in the net. First, how far back can it go before it is reviewable or challengable? I mean if a goal is scored and there was an offsides missed two minutes earlier is that something that can be looked at or does it have to happen within say 10 seconds? Of course then you could have challenges being offered up at the 11 second mark and people will complain that it couldn’t be reviewed because of that one second difference…

    What if it is only opened up to review in OT? That hardly seems right either … nor does the final 5 minutes of the game. When does the average game winning goal occur? I don’t know but I know that often enough it isn’t in that time frame.

    While I know that not every call is perfect, there are a lot more that are than that aren’t. I think introducing more replay and challenges will also introduce other problems … and while we would like to see them all right that just isn’t going to happen. The system is pretty good right now, and other than stopping play at the whistle I don’t think it needs changed…

  14. At what point do all DirectTV subscribers get together and say “today’s the day we all cancel our subscriptions”?

    Perhaps if a deadline is given, say Jan. 1, 2010, and the Versus issue is not resolved, then there should be a mass exodus that will truly put a dent in the pocketbooks of the parties involved and they’ll finely get the message.

    I’m not sure who is truly to blame, Versus, Comcast, DirectTV…..whoever, it needs to get done, it’s beyond ridiculous at this point.

    I’m not advocating that Puck Podcast be a vehicle to any sort of anarchic uprising, certainly. But it is in a position to provide information, or convey a message that unites fellow DirectTV hockey fans and if word spreads, and it becomes a big deal – then DTV hears about it and knows it’s coming, a resolution finally happens.

    If they know everyone will just sit there and take it, nothing will get done. Subscribers have the power to force change. Just something to think about.

  15. Chris- I am a loyal DirecTV subscriber and blame Whorecast for the issue. DirecTV WANTS to carry VS, Whorecast does not want them to carry the channel without charging more money (which DTV already pays more than any other carrier). So, from the information given from both sides (and allowing that both entities are trying to put thier best spin on the situation), I am not going to give up the service I have been happy with for many years because they are trying not to pass off ridiculous cost increases on to me.

    The options suck. The carriers in my area are Verizion Fios, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable and AT&T Uverse. Fios requires ripping up my house yet again for new cables and is actually $20 more a month for the same number of channels (the addition is on demand services that I would never use). Dish Network only carries VS in one of their sports tier packages and is another $20 on top of their basic package. Time Warner is the proud owner of the WORST customer service rating any cable provider has ever had. I have not even bothered to look into AT&T, since none of the other options have any upside.

    I like my DirecTV service. My customer service issues have been resolved quickly and without costing me more $$. I have had to replace the DVR box in the living room twice and have not been charged for it, including having a rep come out to the house (this is usually $50). I have a sports channel package that is no longer offered because someone cared enough when I asked if there was any way to add the local hockey coverage to the Center Ice package that they tracked down a solution (it does cost money, but it is disgutingly cheap, and allows me to see local pre and post game coverage on Altitude, Fox Sports South, MSG and others). I have had every issue resolved to my satisfaction quickly and professionally. My Time Warner friends cannot say the same. And neither can my Fios friends.

    I have contacted DirecTV three times regarding this issue. As Gary Bettman is unwilling to grow a set of testicles and say something that may infuriate one of his owners, the NHL’s stance seems to be the same as yours: Call DirecTV and bitch, but don’t say anything to the wonderfully fantastic owners of the Philadelphia Flyers. And we can’t, BECAUSE THERE IS NO CONTACT INFORMANTION FOR WHORECAST ON THE WEB. If someone can find this, please link it here, because I cannot find it. We should not be throwing ultimatiums to a service that has not done anything wrong. We should be flooding Whorecast’s email inbox with complaints. And telling Mr. Bettman to either figure out what is really going on and make a comment on it that makes sense or shut the hell up and stay out of it. Someone needs to fix this, I agree, but if Whorecast wins, those of us that enjoy our DirecTV will have to pay more for it.

  16. Mathew

    Advancements really only help in Medicine and building things. I say, just leave it alone. How many times do they have to stop a game in football? Basketball? Baseball is coming. It’s human error and a game played by humans. I’m not totally please with any game being decided by a play stoppage. Cameras in the goal are good for me to see someone like Hasak roll around like a nutty squirrel.

  17. Dear Doug:

    What the HECK is going on with my beloved DUCKS???!!!

    We should be laughing at Eddie and his Kings, but alas, we are stinking it up this year.

    Good win for us last night, but we can’t seem to put and back to backs this year.

  18. Okay, I got a couple more from watching NHL Live this morning…

    After interviewing Ryan Clowe, host Rob Simpson on the Sharks and their regular season vs. post season play: “It feels different this time, doesn’t it?” Here we go again! Did we not say this two seasons ago when Brian Campbell got there? “Oh, Campbell brings them grit and that outlet pass they need in the playoffs! They’re gonna win the Cup!” Out in two rounds. Did we not say this last year? “Oh, Marleau is playing great and Thorton is more mature and they got Dan Boyle giving them the grit that they need! They’re gonna win the Cup!” They won two playoff GAMES. It feels different this season, Rob? Until they make the Finals (or lose 60 games in the regular season), it feels exactly the same.

    And co-host Stan Fischler, who suffers from Joe Morgan disease, on the NHL players participating in the Olympics: “I’m worried about someone like Ryan Miller. This is why I don’t want NHL players in the Olympics. They could get hurt.” This was after a segment discussing Sens’ goalie Bryan Elliot being out for a month after taking a puck to the face while SITTING ON THE BENCH. Joe “More Than Mere Mortal” Sakic nearly cut off his fingers in a snowblower. One of the Blues goalies hurt himself last season as he tripped on the carpet rolled out on the ice for the puck drop. Erik Johnson lost a SEASON because he cannot figure out how to ride in a golf cart. How many players get hurt on a bad patch of ice in their driveway? Off season work outs? A car wreck? Etc? Etc? Look, people are going to get hurt. It happens. I would rather have Craig Anderson (as an Avs fan) hurt himself in a Team USA jersey in Vancouver than sleepwalking into a plate glass window. I would rather have Dustin Brown hurt giving his all for his country than have him slip on a Staples Center stairway. Players can get hurt in the pre-season. During the year. Post-season. Off season. I want the best players in the world playing Olympic hockey. I do not want to field a college USA team against Ovie, Kovie and Geno in 2014 in Russia. If you want to complain about the compressed schedule ruining the play of the regular NHL season being an argument against Olympic participation, I will give you a point there. But shut up about the injury thing already. If we do not want NHL players in the Olympics for the fear of injury, then we should eliminate the pre-season, all outdoor team activities, practice and sitting on the bench.

  19. Mathew- Good line. I wish the goalie camera captured Marty Turco’s Staple Center performance last season as he spend nearly ten minutes fiddling around with a large bug that was in the net while play was on the other end of the ice. I saw it live and it was one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed. I just wish the goal camera had picked it up and they had shown it on the jumbotron…

  20. Steve,

    Cold-calling folks one evening to tell them to get into hockey IS preposterous. It’s one thing to share your love of hockey with people you come across in your life – that’s natural. What’s ridiculous is the fact that the Coyotes, after 13 seasons in Phoenix, all of a sudden want their fans to become telemarketers for the team. lol What’s next, a pyramid scheme?

    I’m not saying you or I or anybody out there who loves the sport shouldn’t turn others onto hockey. You’re twisting around what I said so you can make a blanket, self-rightous statement. I am speaking specifically of the Phoenix Coyotes, a hockey franchise projected to lose 50 million dollars this year. I’m all for taking a work buddy to a game, or organizing something through a youth project where you take a whole bunch of kids to see a Coyotes game. That’s personal and natural. What isn’t natural is calling up John Q. Arizona one night after dinner and imploring him to check out the Coyotes, a team that has had 13 years to build a fan base and has failed because the overwhelming majority of people in the state have made it abundantly clear they couldn’t give a crap about the hockey. What’s short-sighted is pretending that hockey can still work in Phoenix, or that telling Joe Schmo to watch a game that he clearly has no interest in is going to turn it all around. Do you call your friends to tell them to buy a GM car so we can save the US auto industry? I don’t think so!

  21. Mark- The people in Phoenix have interest in a good product. Hence, they have little interest in the Coyotes.

  22. Kris,
    The Coyotes are playing good hockey this year. They have 2 fewer points than Calgary or New Jersey, two teams that are being praised to the rafters right now. That puts some perspective on the whole situation in my opinion. It’s not a hockey market – nobody cares. A quick glance at two of Arizona’s largest newspapers, the Arizona Republic and the Arizona Daily Star, and you’d be hard pressed to find anything on the Coyotes. On the Arizona Daily Star’s website, the Coyotes are listed in the Sports menu 3 spots down from the heading “High School Sports”. Ouch. In this case, even if you build it, they will not come. lol

  23. One good season does not a fan base make. Let’s see if they make the playoffs for two consecutive seasons.

    Even with that, I have changed my stance and I think it may be time to move. They are NOT going to Hamilton, though. Vegas and KC would have to fall through, first.

    Then Portland.

    Then Seattle.

    Then London… In the UK…

  24. One good season? They’ve had 12 previous years to do something. They could win and win and it wouldn’t make a lick of difference in attendance. That’s just my opinion of course, so take it with a grain of salt. Kansas City would be the new Phoenix – there’s been talk of the Isles moving there once the Wangster gets fed up enough with Long Island’s refusal to build him a new arena. Not a hockey market – hosted a few pre-season games this year and attendance was ….low. Las Vegas? Maybe – in the short run I could see it working there, but only if you had a winning team right off the bat.

    Like I’ve said before, you have the traditional hockey markets in Canada and the US Northeast and Northern Midwest and they’re always packing them in. You could put chimps on the ice to play the games and they’d still sell out (somebody’s gonna make a joke about my Rangers on that one, but I digress). Why does there have to be so many teams is really what I wonder about. Maybe we should just have, 24, or 26. I really don’t think there should be more than 30. I’m bored with hearing myself yap about Phoenix (can only imagine how you all feel), so I’ll stop here..

  25. “Like I’ve said before, you have the traditional hockey markets in Canada and the US Northeast and Northern Midwest and they’re always packing them in.”

    Like Detroit’s ability to sell out playoff games?

    Las Vegas makes sense TO THE NHL for a few reasons. It is an untapped market by any pro sports league (of course, there is probably a reason for that). It would be in the general geographical location of Phoenix (SW US). This would allow the NHL to fufill what I think are it’s two biggest requirements. A market that DOES NOT spend $$ on the NHL currently. And does not force the league to shuffle ALL of it’s divisions again. If the Phoenix Coyotes were to move to Hamilton, the league would have to put the team in the East Conference. That forces another team to the West. Who is it going to be? Already there are calls to find a way to get Detroit, Nashville and Columbus into the East. Now we are going to take Atlanta and move it to the Central? I think the logistics of moving the team out of the Western Time Zone are greater than the league wants to deal with right now.

    Contraction is an idea that SHOULD be discussed, but that will NEVER happen!

    Okay, I will stop now, too. Until next week.

  26. The thing about Phoenix is that I just don’t think the fanbase in interest is there. Chicago had some rough years but everyone knew that the only issue was management. Now they are running at 104% capacity most nights. The same thing with the Isles. If they stop being a joke the seats will fill up again.

    The scary thing is that teams like Ottawa, Buffalo, and the Caps aren’t selling out. That really surprises me. Ottawa and Buffalo always used to sell out.

    Reports show Phoenix running at around 56% capacity but everyone knows that is based on ticket sales and not butts in the seat. I would be surprised if they have 40% of the seats filled most nights.

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