(Photo from Greg Wyshynski's Puck Daddy blog... where's there's more on this subject)
Last night's game in Columbus ended on a sour note for Blue Jackets fans. The game was tied 5-5, there were 94 seconds left in the third period and it looked for all the world like there would be overtime to decide if Detroit would advance to the semi-finals or Columbus would live to play another day. And then Columbus was whistled for too many men on the ice. Detroit scored on the subsequent power play... with 46.6 second left... and the game was over for all intents and purposes. The Columbus fans went berserk, showering the ice with bottles and other debris. Here's Michael Arace, writing in the Columbus Dispatch:
Once I got out of the Jackets' room, I headed straight for the area near the officials' dressing room. I hoped to find Kevin Collins, and ask him about the call. Collins is a supervisor of officials and he was working this series. Prior to his management gig, Collins worked 28 years as an NHL linesman. He worked 11 Stanley Cup Finals. He might have been the best linesman in the game before he hung up his skates in 2005.Automatic. Meaning you don't let that call slide. I can see where the Blue Jackets' fans would be disappointed; it's a helluva way to lose a game and a series. But seriously, now... even if the game had gone to OT, and even if Columbus had won it, does anyone think the Blue Jackets had a snowball's chance in that Hot Spot to do anything other than lose the series? Really?
I had run into Collins after Game 3, and chatted with him then. He is from the same neck of the woods. We are not pals; in fact, we've only spoken with another a few times over a dozen years. Regardless, he's the expert. He could provide a definitive description of the linesman's point of view.
Collins said he would have made the same call himself. He said it is automatic. He said, "How could I live with myself if I didn't make the call? It's the right call." He said, hypothetically, that if the player in Modin's position doesn't touch the puck, then there is no whistle.
Of course, Collins is going to stick up for his crew. You can take what he says with a grain of salt if you wish. I'm just saying that Collins is a man of vast experience and unquestioned integrity, and he looked me in the eye and said, with no hesitation, that he would have blown down the play had he been wearing the stripes on this night. No hesitation. It's automatic, not unlike when a defenseman flips the puck into the crowd for a delay of game (my words, not Collins').
OK Columbus... here's your mantra: "Next Year!" Your team learned a lot in this series and I'm thinking you'll be just that much better next year. It's the way of the world.
In the meantime... it looks like the Wings are gonna go Duck hunting in the next round. Oooo-weeee. Sucks to be San Jose.