New Jersey Devils Lose on Terrible Call

JerseySenior Analyst IApril 22, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 21:  Jussi Jokinen #36 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 21, 2009 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

"Bad" does not begin to describe the way last night's Devils game ended.

I know, the Devils played like crap for two periods, and I know, they simply let up at the buzzer. Sure, they were outplayed. But very often, teams get outplayed and win anyway. Last night could have been one of those nights. The Devils at least should have gone into overtime.

But the refs just don't play by the rules.

I know, there are bad calls all the time. It's silly to complain about the refs.

But sometimes, it's not so silly. Sometimes, the bad call directly affects the game: it's not just a missed penalty, but a missed penalty that allows a goal to be scored. Sometimes it affects the game more, as said goal turns out to be the game winner. And sometimes, that game-winner occurs as time expires, leaving no time whatsoever for the opponent to even have a chance at amending the situation.

The Devils got royally screwed tonight. Martin Brodeur was clearly interfered with on the game-winning goal, and the refs just sat and watched. They let the Hurricanes get away with a blatant penalty, and let the puck pass through the net as time expired, giving them the victory. It's rare, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the referees 100 percent gave the game away. There really is no way around it.

And what's worse: they watched it all on video replay.

They had to check if the goal crossed the line before time expired, and they did so...except that very same video replay showed Brodeur getting hit by Jussi Jokinen, allowing the goal to be scored. He was put of position illegally, and had it not been for the illegal contact, the goal would have been stopped easily.

But they didn't call it.

I'm not even asking for the penalty anymore. I know, I know, you can't call a penalty via video replay. I know the rule. Forget that.


You want to check if the goal was legal? It wan't! Wave the damn thing off! Declare it no goal, as it was scored via illegal contact. Same way you'd call off a goal if there was a crease violation. It's not difficult, and it's the right call to make.

Instead, they counted the goal, and handed the game to Carolina. Brodeur chased after the referee, chucking his stick, and he was rightfully livid. This is not the kind of behavior he typically exhibits, and there's a reason he acted that way. He was right. The refs cheated the Devils out of a chance at winning.

What did the refs say? "That I had time to reset myself," Brodeur explained. Hogwash. He didn't. That's the same stupid answer they give every time, because it's the easy answer. And you know who said exactly that? Brodeur: "That's always the same answer. It doesn't matter which referee it is. That's the easy way out to say."

Brodeur knew he was forced out of position, and he refused to take the ref's answer. He made some nasty comments after the game, and I expect a fine will follow. That's idiotic. He's 100 percent right, but the league will protect its terrible refs and fine Brodeur. It's the refs who should be fined, and suspended to boot. This was a terrible display.

A last-second goal typically gives the winning team momentum, but I'd be scared right now if I was on Carolina. The Devils roared back in this game, and have outplayed the Canes in every other contest this series. The Devils now have a massive chip on their collective shoulders, and will be playing with enormous intensity in Game Five. Will there be some pain inflicted on Cam Ward? I wouldn't be surprised. And if the refs call the Devils out on that, sarcastically bewildered expressions will follow. It will be a crazy game on Thursday. And the Devils will have to win it.

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John Fischer