On January 20th in 2011, Phoenix Coyotes 6'5" forward Martin Hanzal used his stick to strike a puck floating at face level of 6'3" defenseman Matt Greene into the Los Angeles Kings net, violating Rule 78.5(vi).
Incorrectly ruled a goal by on-ice official Justin St. Pierre, NHL SVP of hockey operations Mike Murphy upheld the absurd call after a lengthy video review claiming there was no conclusive evidence to support the notion that Hanzal's contact was made above the 4 foot crossbar.
Adding to Hanzal's surprise ("I thought it was going to be a high stick") and coach Terry Murray's confusion ("It makes no sense, I don't know why we have video replay in the NHL") with the officiating, Kings GM Dean Lombardi attacked Murphy for the irresponsible call, claiming:
"When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.'s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls."Despite an apology to Murphy the next morning, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman fined Lombardi $50,000 for the outburst, noting:
"There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League's Hockey Operations Department in general or Mike Murphy, in particular. People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did. Mike Murphy is a devoted caretaker of the game. His commitment to the National Hockey League, all 30 of its Clubs -- and to the game -- is beyond challenge, question or debate."The Coyotes added another goal to beat the Kings by a score of 2-0.
That's today in NHL history.