On April 19th in 2010, Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin deflected a puck off his skate and past Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in Game 3 of the opening round of the 2010 playoffs, pulling his team within a goal three minutes into the third period.
Ruled a good goal by on-ice referee Steve Kozari, NHL SVP Mike Murphy and the off-ice video review crew overturned the ruling after a lengthy six minute review, causing CBC's Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson to remark "Wow, that is a most interesting call".
NHL Rule 78.5(ii) states a goal shall be disallowed "when the puck has been kicked using a distinct kicking motion." A "distinct kicking motion" is defined by Rule 38.4(iv) as "one which, with a pendulum motion, the player propels the puck with his skate into the net." Rule 49.2 clarifies, however, that "a puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal".
Absent evidence of a "distinct kicking motion", Murphy was invited to speak with Ron Maclean on HNIC and share the reasoning behind his decision to overturn the on-ice ruling and disallow Sedin's goal.
The interview appeared to further confuse an already perplexed panel.
Maclean: Tell us exactly how you came to your conclusion.When questioned the next day as to how Murphy could have known that Sedin "knew what he was doing", Commissioner Bettman deflected the question and controversy, electing instead to defend his staff:
Murphy: ... It [the puck] had to be propelled some way. We felt it was the skate and not a distinct kicking motion but with a kicking motion that made it move back the other way. It wasn't a deflection. It wasn't a redirect. It was a kick. So that's the decision we came up with.
Maclean: If he's just making a stop ... and it [the puck] hits his skate and changes direction, is that a kicking motion?
Murphy: No ... We'll let that stand as a goal. We felt that wasn't the case here. He knew what he was doing.
"Mike Murphy was trying to explain at one o'clock in the morning as best he could exactly what was going on. And if he wasn't as articulate as perhaps those looking to parse his words would like, so be it. But as I said, I have complete confidence in Mike Murphy, Colie Campbell, and the entire hockey operations department. I think this whole tact of innuendo and insinuation is both insulting and pure fantasy. And I suggest everyone move on and focus on the fact we are having a dynamic playoffs."Interestingly, a near identical goal was scored by the same player three months earlier. After video review, that goal was allowed to stand.
Clouding the waters of incompetence with conspiracy, allegations of partiality surfaced as an interview from earlier that season between LAKings.com and the club's former player (10yrs), captain (7yrs), and coach (4yrs) turned NHL SVP revealed Murphy's bias towards the team.
LAKings.com: You were with the Kings from early on in the team’s existence – how have you seen the team change in the time since then?The disallowed goal preserved the Kings 4-2 lead en route to a 5-3 win, taking a 2-1 series lead over the Canucks. The win, however, would be the last for Los Angeles as Vancouver ultimately cinched the series 4-2.
Murphy: Well I have seen some obvious changes with the colors of the uniforms and the logo and the different arena where they play. What has not changed is the great group of solid hockey fans in Southern California that support and love the Kings, even with the changes. I think it would be so neat to see the Kings succeed and win a Stanley Cup because it would do just a tremendous amount for the Southern California market and the Kings franchise. They have been hard working and very close in a number of years, so that would be nice to see.
That's today in NHL history.