NHL replay conclusion has Lemaire crying foul

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 4, 2009 - 11:54 PM

DENVER - The Wild is screaming foul over the replay used by the NHL to overturn referee Brad Meier's no-goal call on Johan Franzen's tying goal late in Saturday's game against the Detroit Red Wings.

The league believed a zoomed-in angle received in the NHL's Toronto war room off the Detroit television feed conclusively showed Franzen's stick under the crossbar and thus reversed Meier's decision that Franzen scored with a high stick.

"The league sent us [the replay it used]. I didn't see it was conclusive," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "I didn't see it at all. They say it was. I don't see it. When you get a camera [higher than the crossbar] and the crossbar's [lower] and a guy that's 6-2 is holding his stick [angled up], he's got to be over the bar.

"I guess they see something I don't see."

When Meier, 6 feet away, waved off the goal, Franzen didn't complain.

The NHL was only receiving Detroit's feed (six cameras, fewer tape machines for replay options and standard definition), as opposed to the Wild's feed (11 cameras, more tape machines and high definition).

"The conclusive view was the enhanced view looking into the front of the Minnesota net," said Mike Murphy, the NHL's vice president of hockey operations, in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. "Franzen's stick started high but contacted the puck at or below the crossbar.

"HD or SD did not make the difference. The key component was the puck was struck at or below the crossbar. That is what we ruled, and we were unanimous in our decision."

The war room does receive overhead HD from every arena.

Screen captures of other replays appear to show the puck was struck over the crossbar. They can be seen on a Saturday blog post on www.startribune.com/russo.

Asked why the NHL would take Detroit's feed, Murphy said: "The Toronto Video Room subscribes to two satellite providers -- Bell Express Vu and DirecTV. These two providers give us excellent coverage.

"However, we get what these satellite companies provide to us. Often the game is in HD locally but not provided by the satellite companies in HD. ... This was the case [Saturday]."

Two years ago, a faulty replay in Vancouver cost the Wild a Pascal Dupuis goal. The Wild finished one point from the division title. One extra point Saturday would have put the Wild eighth instead of ninth.

Using the bench

Even with the Wild short defensemen, Lemaire has been benching Erik Reitz early in games. He's done the same with some forwards.

"You can't have that patience when you have to win," Lemaire said. "It's when you see that if you have no chance to be there, then I can have patience. Now, that patience will [cost you points, and that] will ruin you.

"So where do I stop?"

Lemaire said if the Wild tanks in the standings, then he's willing to risk using players not playing well.

"But now, we're still in between. Until we decide where we're going, I have to be like this," Lemaire said. "These guys, they can't drop. They don't realize that. If they drop, then I can't play anybody."

Reitz was scratched for John Scott against Colorado.

"He's got to get his game a little better," Lemaire said.

Pouliot scratched again

Benoit Pouliot was scratched for the fourth time in six games as Lemaire continues to go with Krys Kolanos.

"Shows me more," Lemaire said, adding it's a "maturity" issue with Pouliot, goalless since Nov. 15.

Marek Zidlicky, ill Saturday, returned, while Derek Boogaard also was scratched.

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