Here's the situation: Tampa Bay and Colorado skate to a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime, leading to a shootout. The first three attempts result in no goals, setting the stage for Colorado's Milan Hejduk to take on Lightning goalie Mike Smith.
As you can see in the video above, Smith makes the save on Hejduk, only to have the officials huddle up and award a goal to Hejduk -- the game-winning goal, as it turns out -- because Smith "threw his stick."
Seriously? Are we watching the same video?
Judging by the replay shown, it appears that the stick comes out of Smith's hand after he makes the save, and even so, it doesn't appear as if he's "throwing" the stick at Hejduk or the puck.
Here's what rule 26.4 in the NHL rulebook states: 26.4 Infractions – During the Course of a Penalty Shot - A goal will be awarded when a goalkeeper attempts to stop a penalty shot by throwing his stick or any other object at the player taking the shot or by deliberately dislodging the goal.
Did any of that happen during this series of events? Uh. No. Normally, I tend to shy away from blaming refs for a team's loss -- I hate it when people do that -- mainly because there's probably an event earlier in the game that you failed to capitalize on, which also led to your defeat. But, man, what an absurd call.
Is this the only reason Tampa Bay lost? No. Of course not. The Lightning scored one goal. You're not winning with one goal on a consistent basis, but that doesn't change the fact Tim Peel and Brian Pochmara wet the bed with that call.
Obviously, as you can see in the video, Tampa Bay head coach Rick Tocchet was livid -- and for good reason, that call sucked -- banging a stick on the boards, looking like he wanted to eat the referee standing in front of him, while Smith offered up his frustration following the game.
"I know it's a quick game and things happen fast, but there's four refs on the ice, not one," Smith said. "They have the angles covered. I made the save and then I had to drop the stick because my stick was going to come up in the air. You can't make that call at that point in the game. The save was already made. "I guess if you're winning, if you're up in the standings, those calls seem to go your way."Mike Murphy, who happens to be the NHL's senior vice president of hockey operations -- translation: some guy in a suit -- cited rule 24.6 as the reasoning behind the call, and admitted that he told Peel and Pochmara not to speak to anybody after the game because, "I don't think any good can come from it."