Do we want video review done quickly by the NHL or do we want it done right -- or both?
Perhaps you were at the St. Pete Times Forum Thursday night for the Tampa Bay Lightning's game with the Islanders. Perhaps you were watching on television, and watching, and watching and, oh, yes, waiting, about 10 minutes, for the NHL to finish its video review of what, in overtime, had been ruled on the ice a pretty good behind-the-back, glove flailing save by Lightning goalie Dan Ellis on a fluttering puck shot by Matt Moulson.
The league appeared to get it right when Mike Murphy, vice president of hockey operations, and his crew in the NHL's offices in Toronto, overruled the on-ice referees and determined the puck, in mid air, was over the goal line before Ellis swatted it away. Even Lightning GM Steve Yzerman admitted it was probably the right call, and his team lost 3-2.
The question is, what took so long? And should there be some kind of time limit on how long video reviews can go on? The NFL, for example, allows its officials 60 seconds to watch video if a play is challenged or reviewed.
Murphy acknowledged after Thursday's game that is was "disappointing" the review of Ellis' non-save took so long, but said the way the system is set up, that is sometimes a consequence. First, there is no time limit. Second, thre is no super-secret camera. Murphy and his crew are beholden to watching replays provided by the entities televising the game. On Thursday that was New York's MSG Network and Sun Sports. Murphy said because the review was in overtime and a reversal would end the game, he wanted to make sure he saw every replay available. He finally got one that clearly showed the puck over the line, a side angle of the Lightning net on MSG. You can see that camera shot on the Lightning's web site: lightning.nhl.com.
Still, generally, you would think that if you cannot find conclusive evidence within a few minutes to reverse a call, it would be time to move on and trust the on-ice officials. On the other hand, the Islanders are probably pretty happy the NHL took its time.
Still, as the game stalled on Thursday, fans at the St. Pete Times Forum booed in impatience.
The interesting part was Murphy saying he and his crew were pretty sure the puck was in after about three minutes of looking at replays. But he said he wanted to wait for another view to confirm.
So, get it done quickly or get it done right? Is it mutually exclusive? At least the NHL made the right call. And, by the way, the Lightning played a poor, uninspired game in front of its home fans. That is what those who follow the team should really be worried about.
As Murphy said of the system, "This is what we're saddled with," though he added, "We want to make sure we get it right. We're going to wait to get it right."