St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Tortorella convinced call went wrong way

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 9, 2002


CHICAGO -- There is no way to convince Lightning coach John Tortorella the correct call was made Saturday, when a video review wiped out an apparent Tampa Bay goal during a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins.

Denis Morel, an NHL supervisor of officials, said he and replay officials determined left wing Andre Roy kicked the puck into the net with a "distinct motion." The goal would have given the Lightning a 3-1 second-period lead. Instead, the game went to overtime tied at 2.

"The way it's supposed to work, it's supposed to be conclusive evidence," Tortorella said Sunday. "I looked at seven or eight different clips in between periods, and Denny Morel must have some great eyes because in the clips that I saw, I don't know how you can make any conclusive calls that it was not a goal."

Rule 70(a) states: "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net."

Morel said Roy never touched the puck with his stick, which would have legitimized the goal. Roy said he used his skate to gain control of the puck before tapping it in with his stick.

Pressbox replays were inconclusive.

"The game needs to be decided by the players and the people on the ice when it isn't a conclusive call from the video," Tortorella said. "If it starts going like this, you might as well ask the peanut guy and the pretzel man and the hot dog guy to start making calls on the ice.

"We played our (butts) off. If you score that third goal, it may have changed the complexion of everything. ... Upstairs, they took it right away ... from the referees and they took it away from the teams deciding the game, and it's wrong."

NHL spokesman Gary Meagher said he could not comment on the incident because he had not seen it. Speaking generally, he said replay officials wave off goals only if they are sure of the call. He said the video judges have access to fixed cameras over each goal and television replays. He admitted, however, no system is perfect.

"Sometimes in these things you don't get a look at every available angle. It just doesn't come up in the game broadcast," he said. "If something shows up five minutes later, there is no recourse, and that happens from time to time."

The Lightning also has a digital recording of the game with which it can analyze plays frame-by-frame, something replay judges do not have.

Tortorella said the team will not send a video to the league.

"To me that doesn't do any good," he said. "I just wish there was some accountability. Everybody needs to be held accountable when they're influencing a decision of a hockey game."

"There definitely is accountability with video goal judges," Meagher said. "It's an important position. All our games are watched (at the NHL offices in Toronto). They take a lot of pride in getting the calls right."

HOLZINGER SITS: Forward Brian Holzinger was a healthy scratch for the fifth consecutive game.

"I don't know where Brian fits right now," Tortorella said. "The mechanics of the lineup, I don't want to play with too much."

Also in the way is rookie center Alexander Svitov.

"It's our responsibility to develop Svitov," Tortorella said. "That's the nature of the business when you have a guy who we think is going to be a big piece of the puzzle. I've told (GM) Jay (Feaster) I'd like to develop him more here than down in the minors, and that definitely hurts Brian."

ODDS AND ENDS: Right wing Jimmie Olvestad was a healthy scratch. ... Darren Rumble, a callup from AHL Springfield, played his first NHL game this season in place of defenseman Nolan Pratt, out after being hit in the nose with a puck against the Bruins.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.