Rand: NHL referee skirts the wrath of Chicago fans

  • Updated: May 31, 2013 - 12:39 AM

If Detroit had won Game 7 against Chicago, where would Stephen Walkom’s call have ranked among the all-time blown calls in sports history?


The Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg, second from left, celebrates his third-period goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of Western Conference semifinals at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, on Wednesday May 29, 2013. (Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

Late in the third period of Wednesday’s Game 7 between the Red Wings and Blackhawks, NHL official Stephen Walkom called coincidental roughing penalties on Kyle Quincey and Brandon Saad — negating what would have been the go-ahead goal for Chicago. The call was nearly unanimously derided for multiple reasons. But because Chicago won in overtime, it will become a quickly buried footnote instead of a piece of historical infamy.

What we wondered is this: If Detroit had won the game, where would Walkom’s call have ranked among the all-time blown calls in sports history? Here is a brief attempt to put it into context IF the Red Wings would have won:

Two calls with greater impact

• Umpire Don Denkinger missed an out-safe call in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. The Cardinals led the series three games to two and were ahead 1-0 in the game at the time of the call. Buoyed by a baserunner they shouldn’t have had, the Royals scored twice to win and then clobbered a clearly flustered Cardinals squad 11-0 in Game 7 to win it all.

• Diego Maradona scored the first goal of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England on what is commonly referred to as the “Hand of God” goal. Maradona clearly punched a ball out of the air and into the goal — a handball violation — but the goal stood. Maradona scored again later in a 2-1 victory and Argentina went on to win the World Cup.

Two calls with less impact

• Replacement officials ruled Seahawks receiver Golden Tate came down with a TD reception on the final play against the Packers in a regular-season game in 2012 despite strong evidence that indicated it was an interception. Still, both teams went on to make the playoffs — making the call damaging but not completely debilitating.

• First base umpire Jim Joyce missed an out-safe call with two outs in the ninth inning, denying Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. It was a bad call that impacted what would have been a great achievement, but Detroit still won the game.

Michael Rand

  • related content

  • Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson showed his displeasure after learning his potential game-winning goal was called back because of a whistle behind the play on Wednesday night in Chicago.

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
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