The New York Rangers salvaged their season with an uber important 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators last night at Scotiabank Place, but goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was still fuming after the final buzzer, and he had every right to be. With 39 seconds left in the third period, Jason Spezza scored a goal that shouldn't have counted for two reasons:
1) The puck was clearly swiped in by the skate of Chris Neil, which, by definition, is ruled "distinct kicking motion" and deemed no goal. Neil himself did not even celebrate because even he knew it should not count. However, the NHL somehow came to the conclusion that the replay was inconclusive, even though everyone, and I mean everyone, watching this game on television clearly saw that the puck was kicked in.
2) Chris Neil tangled his stick with the body of Lundqvist, dragging Hank out of the crease and into the slot while the puck was being kicked into the net. This, by definition, is ruled "goaltender interference" and again deemed no goal. Again, missed by the officials and the war room in Toronto.
So the NHL and the officials at Scotiabank had not only one, but two reasons to disallow this last-minute tally that brought the difference on the scoreboard to just one goal. This is why Henrik Lundqvist had every right to skate out of his crease screaming in disgust when the final call was made. Not only that, but he was also right in making the postgame comments that he did.
“When it’s goalie interference and a kick and they still call it a goal, it scares me,” Lundqvist said. “It’s such an obvious play, I’m still upset.”
“It looked like someone wanted them back in the game…It’s an absolute joke.”
Can you argue his logic there?
The NHL will by likely fining the Ranger netminder the maximum $2,500 for his comments, but at least in my opinion, it's a $2,500 well spent.
Since the Winter Classic back on January 2, the League's bias against the Rangers has been well-documented. Head coach John Tortorella would not have made comments that he knew would get him fined twice over the course of the year if they weren't necessary. Now that's Tortorella, and obviously he and his mouth have a reputation. But Lundqvist? His record is squeaky clean and he is normally very reserved in what he says about the League or the officiating after a game.
He was irate last night, though, and that says something. He would not lose his cool like that over a small issue, and he's not only speaking on behalf of himself there, he's speaking on behalf of goaltenders throughout the NHL. Goalies are supposed to be protected by the officials, which makes sense because they are defenseless and also hold the most difficult position of anyone on the ice. But some of the calls and non-calls made this year have exposed faults in that protection, just as we saw last night.
So we applaud you, Mr. Lundqvist, for speaking your mind and setting the NHL straight. Once again, the League embarrasses itself because apparently they haven't done so enough already in these playoffs.
Oh yeah, he also had this to say as well:
Video courtesy of reader Josh.