It’s been a couple of days and I’ve had time to think about the disallowed goal from Manny Malhotra. After a watching the replay videos, talking about it with hockey people, and trying to look at it from “Toronto’s” perspective, I can’t agree with the ruling. Malhotra didn’t intentionally kick the puck nor did he direct the puck into the net with a forward motion of his skate. What bothers me is that “Toronto” said after watching the play in real time, the unanimously agreed that it shouldn’t be allowed. This is odd because Kerry Frasier and Stephane Auger, two very experienced NHL officials, also watched the play in real time, their only option, and ruled that it was a goal. If in the future, when reviewable plays occur, will the NHL consistently overrule the experienced eyes of their own on-ice officials? If so, then no team will lose a game like the Jackets did in Minnesota when “Toronto” could not conclude one way or another if Rick Nash scored a goal and let the on-ice officials vote on it. At least that is what they said at that time, that Dan Marouelli and the linesmen over-ruled Steve Kozari, the official who called it a goal.
In reality, the game was lost at 19:58 of the first period when Pascal Leclaire gave up a goal to Loui Ericksson, allowing the Stars to get back into a game they were clearly losing. Leclaire’s play was not good that night, not even NHL adequate. I’m not sure what the issue is. Maybe all the negative comments about him are distracting him, maybe he knows that he has been shopped around by the team, or maybe he just can’t deal with being #2. He should have been reassured of his value when the team released Freddy Norrena. Whatever the issue is, the team cannot go forward with a goalie who can’t meet expectations. So does the team add finding a back-up goalie to the list which already has a center and right-handed defenseman on it? The team does not have anyone in the system who can do the job for Leclaire. And most NHL teams are looking to upgrade their goalies, so the Jackets will have to pay a premium to obtain one. This is in addition to the Columbus Premium that they have to pay to get someone to come here.
Add this to the growing list of Blue Jacket issues and problems.