Failed chal­lenge on goal com­pounded by score on en­su­ing power play

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - MARK LAZERUS Email: mlazerus@ sun­times. com


The NHL changed the rules this year to as­sess a two- minute penalty for a failed off­side chal­lenge in an ef­fort to cut down on lengthy re­views that had been killing the mo­men­tum of a game. The idea was to force coaches to be 100 per­cent sure a play was off­side be­fore send­ing of­fi­cials to their lit­tle tablets to look for a mil­lime­ter or two of white ice between a player’s skate and the blue line.

Well, Joel Quen­neville was 100 per­cent sure Ja­son Zucker was off­side be­fore he found Chris Stewart for a go- ahead goal mid­way through the third pe­riod Thurs­day night.

He was wrong. At least, ac­cord­ing to the league. As a re­sult. the goal stood, the Wild scored on the en­su­ing power play, and a tight game turned into a 5- 2 Min­nesota vic­tory — the Hawks’ first reg­u­la­tion loss of the sea­son.

Ac­cord­ing to the league’s ex­pla­na­tion for the de­ci­sion, it was ruled that Brent Seabrook — who had fallen down while Zucker went past him — had car­ried the puck into his own de­fen­sive zone, thereby nul­li­fy­ing the off­side per Rule 83.1. But the puck had merely banked off the prone Seabrook’s skate.

“He didn’t carry it and didn’t have pos­ses­sion, so I dis­agree with that rul­ing,” a seething Joel Quen­neville said. “Plus it was off­side. I mean, why didn’t he blow the whis­tle? Un­less he knew that rule and thought he had pos­ses­sion? Or he thought he car­ried it or con­trolled it?”

Quen­neville had no re­grets about chal­leng­ing the goal, even though it wound up all but de­cid­ing the game.

“I wasn’t wor­ried about that [ penalty],” Quen­neville said. “I still don’t think it should have been a goal.”

Seabrook said the in­sult- to- in­jury penalty “sucks,” but put the onus on him­self for al­low­ing the 2- on- 1 with Zucker and Stewart to hap­pen.

“It’s on me,” he said. “I’ve got to do a bet­ter job of keep­ing it [ on the neu­tral- zone side of ] the blue line and at least mak­ing a play, not giv­ing up a 2- on- 1 there at that point. We had just got back to a tie game. Tough one.”

The Wild added two emp­tynet­ters af­ter Zucker scored on the de­lay- of- game power play, ren­der­ing Jonathan Toews’ last- minute goal mean­ing­less. But up un­til the two- goal swing of the chal­lenge, it had been a tight game.

It was quite a sleepy af­fair for the first two pe­ri­ods. Aside from a vi­cious right hook from John Hay­den dur­ing a fight with Mar­cus Foligno, the United Cen­ter crowd was more into the Cubs game than the Hawks game. But the Wild fi­nally broke through in the fi­nal minute of the sec­ond pe­riod, with Eric Staal scor­ing shortly af­ter the Hawks put 10 straight shots on Wild goal­tender De­van Dub­nyk. Ryan Hart­man knocked in a re­bound off a Tan­ner Kero de­flec­tion at 8: 21 of the third to tie it, set­ting the stage for the dra­matic — and con­tro­ver­sial — chal­lenge.

“You can see how that kind of turns the game around a lit­tle bit,” Hart­man said. “They in­stall that [ de­lay- of- game penalty] to make sure you know for sure, but it didn’t work out in our fa­vor tonight.”

The Hawks looked a step slow, play­ing their third game in their third city in four nights — a stretch that’s tougher early in the sea­son, when play­ers aren’t quite in mid­sea­son form. The Wild, on the other hand, were play­ing just their third game over­all. Still, the game hinged on that one key se­quence.

“They came in ready,” Quen­neville said. “They were sharp off the puck drop. I didn’t mind the way we played to that point, but it was def­i­nitely a big change.”

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ MarkLazerus.


Black­hawks coach Joel Quen­neville yells at ref­eree Kevin Pol­lock af­ter los­ing a chal­lenge that a play was off­side Thurs­day against the Wild.

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