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There's no way the end to the game tonight wouldn't be controversial. With about three seconds remaining, a collision with Brodeur led to a Rangers goal, which was disallowed.
The Rangers quickly complained that Gaborik had been pushed into Brodeur, while the Devils seemed to accept that it was a Ranger's fault. It's not like they were going to complain.
Now, I don't really know what the right call was. From my perspective, it looked as though Volchenkov was applying pressure to Gaborik from the side, and not towards Brodeur. It seemed to me that Gaborik simply didn't stop, or at least make enough of an attempt to stop, and as such, collided with Brodeur.
I'm sure others see it differently. I'm a big Devils fan, and my view of the play may very well be tainted. But this is not the first time this season that games have ended with controversial calls. Inconsistent—and sometimes, uneven—reffing has been prevalent for years.
The problem, as I see it, is that in many cases, no one really knows what's going on. There are few explanations from the refs, and players and teams always side with their respective organizations.
Perhaps it's just a given in sports that can't be addressed, but I think there needs to be something done to better articulate calls during games, both to fans and to players. I'm tired of seeing confused-looking players standing angrily by the bench as they wait to hear the ref's judgment.
I suppose what I'm getting at is, there's gonna be a lot of different views on how the game ended tonight. None of them will be wrong. But the NHL needs to get the sport to a place where the rules are universally understood. Even if fans don't like a call, they understand why it's being made.
Until the rules become that black and white, there will only be more games like tonight: brilliantly played, highly exciting and at the end, completely unsatisfying.