Icing was waved off on a play that led to a Colorado Avalanche goal, and San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic would like an apology.

“I’ll take the high road and wait for the league’s apology tomorrow,” Vlasic said, referring to the NHL apology issued to the Vegas Golden Knights for a bad call in Game 7 of their opening round series against the Sharks.

The contested play came during the second period of Sunday’s game with the score tied at 1-1. Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov fired the puck the length of the ice. Vlasic and Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen raced for the puck. An audible “No!” can be heard from linesman Trent Knorr as he waves off the icing. Nonetheless, the Sharks – believing it was going to be icing – pulled up and stopped skating on the play.

While a freeze-frame of the play shared online shows Vlasic ahead of Rantanen, it doesn’t provide the complete picture.

Rantanen appeared to be moving faster, thereby potentially winning the race to the puck and negating the icing.

Remember, it’s still the race to the puck — not a race to the faceoff dots.

From Rule 81.1 – Icing:

For the purpose of interpretation of the rule, there are two judgments required for “icing the puck”.

The Linesman must first determine that the puck will cross the goal line.

Once the Linesman determines that the puck will cross the goal line, icing is completed upon the determination as to which player (attacking or defending) would first touch the puck. This decision by the Linesman will be made by no later than the instant the first player reaches the end zone faceoff dots with the player’s skate being the determining factor.

For clarification, the determining factor is which player would first touch the puck, not which player would first reach the end zone faceoff dots.

If the race for the puck is too close to determine by the time the first player reaches the end zone face-off dots, icing shall be called.

It’s not a ‘race to the hash marks’ as some – including certain broadcast teams – believe.

The linesman makes a judgement call as to which player will first reach the puck, and he needs to do so by the time they reach the dots.  Here’s linesman Matt MacPherson to explain:

Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar agreed with the call, citing Rantanen’s velocity.
“It was the exact same as the icing here the other night, when [Erik] Karlsson had the inside track on [J.T.] Compher,” said Bednar, as reported by ESPN. “They’re in a race. They blow it down for icing because Karlsson had the inside path. To me, on this one, I’m watching Mikko [Rantanen] go up the ice, he’s got a head of steam, he’s getting to the right area, he’s got the inside path on Vlasic on the post. It looks to me like Mikko’s going to get their first, so they let it go. To me, it’s similar plays: The guy on the inside got the call. One was against us. One was in our favor.”
San Jose Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer opted not to weigh in on the non-call, putting the onus on his players to skate until they hear the whistle.
“Whether or not I thought it was doesn’t matter,” said DeBoer. “Our players did. They let up. They relaxed for a minute, and it obviously wasn’t. So the lesson in that was don’t assume anything in the playoffs. Play and make sure.”

The goal put the Avalanche up 2-1, giving them a lead they would not relinquish.  Colorado won the game 4-3 to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

“I’m taking the high road. Waiting for the apology tomorrow,” Vlasic said.