When is a save not a save?
The only rule applicable to what occurred in Thursday night's game is 26-4, which states that a goal will be awarded when, during a penalty shot, a shot is disrupted by a deliberately thrown stick. That is what the officials had to determine. They obviously determined Lightning goaltender Mike Smith threw his stick on Milan Hejduk's shootout attempt. That gave the Avalanche a 1-0 win in the shootout and a 2-1 win in the game.
Did he? Replays seemed showed perhaps Smith made the save and then dropped the stick. A still photo in today's paper seems to show the stick out of Smith's hands before the shot Remember, though, he had to have deliberately thrown the stick.
What is strange is that such a play is not reviewable. As Mike Murphy, the NHL's director of hockey operations, said after the game, the only thing reviewable is if the puck was in the net. It wasn't so there could not be a review.
We have that kind of technology and the play like that can't be reviewed? Come on. You knew it was going to be a controversial call. The officials talked about it for an extended period of time. Don't you want to be sure you get it right?
And why can't officials speak to reporters after a game? They basically gave one team the game over another and then they can't defend themselves? Tell me what you were thinking. Tell me why you ruled a certain way. Murphy said he didn't want the refs to be "trapped" by a "hot environment." Please. Dealing with the pressure is part of the job. If you can't face a bunch of reporters who would have asked simple questions, really, how can you handle the pressure of what's going on on the ice?
Look, perhaps the refs got it right, and perhaps they would have spoken if Murphy had allowed them. But hiding in a room after a game is no way to show confidence in what was just called.