We’ve had plenty of debate about offside plays lately. Today marks the 10-year anniversary of what is quite possibly one of the worst delayed offside missed calls of all-time.
The 2012 AHL Calder Cup Final saw the Toronto Marlies and Norfolk Admirals deadlocked at 0-0 in overtime of Game 3. Admirals defenseman Mike Kostka dumped the puck into the Toronto end while Brandon Segal was still clearing the zone. One lucky bounce off the stanchion and it was in the net for the win.
Goaltender Ben Scrivens had moved out of the net, anticipating the puck along the boards. It never made it to him.
“That’s a one in a million thing,” said Scrivens. “I was just hoping it wasn’t going in.”
It was… and it did. That shouldn’t have mattered, though, since the Admirals were on a delayed offside. Segal was still in the zone when the puck was dumped in.
“I saw it and it’s a real interesting one for the referees,” said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. “The puck comes out, the puck’s rimmed in, there’s a guy that’s offside by about eight to 10 feet, the puck hits the stanchion, but now he is onside and it goes in your net. It’s a fairly grey area. Once again, something that I’ve never seen. I’m sure the referees have never seen anything like that either.”
It’s not so grey. It’s actually rather black and white. Here’s Rule 83.4:
If the puck is shot into the attacking zone creating a delayed off-side, the play shall be allowed to continue under the normal clearing-the-zone rules.
Should the puck, as a result of this shot, enter the defending team’s goal, either directly or off the goalkeeper, a player, the boards, the glass, a piece of equipment or an official on the ice, the goal shall be disallowed as the original shot was off-side. The fact that the attacking team may have cleared the zone prior to the puck entering the goal has no bearing on this ruling.
The only way an attacking team can score a goal on a delayed off-side situation is if the defending team shoots or puts the puck into their own net without action or contact by the offending team.
The AHL later released a statement, confirming the missed call on the play.
We have spoken with Toronto Marlies management and confirmed that a rules interpretation error by the on-ice officials occurred on the Norfolk Admirals’ overtime goal during Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.
On the play, a dump-in from center ice by a Norfolk player caromed off a stanchion and into the Toronto net. The correct application of AHL Rule 83.4 would have negated the Norfolk goal due to a delayed offside call.
As AHL By-Laws do not allow for any change to the final result of a game based on an incorrect rule interpretation, the result of the game stands.
Mistakes happen, but, man, this was a tough one to take – especially on a game-deciding goal in overtime of the championship series.
“I would rather somebody take a pair of steel toed boots and kick me in a delicate region than to lose a hockey game like that,” said Eakins. “That is a tough way to lose.”
Eakins later sympathized with the stripes.
“Never forget that the AHL is a developmental league for the referees as well,” Eakins tweeted. “Players and coaches have made mistakes. We all move on.”
That series featured a handful of names still active in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Norfolk featured current Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn, along with Bolts bench boss Jon Cooper, manning the helm for the Admirals. The Marlies had Nazem Kadri, currently in the playoffs with the Avalanche, sidelined with an injury.
Officials for that game were referees Marcus Vinnerborg (#45) and Jean Hebert (#43), with linesmen Kiel Murchison (#35) and Mathieu Chenier (#71). Hebert and Murchison are both working the Conference Finals in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Admirals went on to sweep the Marlies, claiming the 2012 Calder Cup Championship.
Happy anniversary. Woof.
(Stick-tap to Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) for reminding us of this debacle… )