Avalanche Have a Breakout Game: Refs and NHL Video Review… Not So Much


Just what the doctor ordered

The Avalanche needed a feel-good win to get those positive vibes flowing. A good old-fashioned woodshed whooping if you will. The Avs were bound to breakout on offense eventually, and you could feel some positives building in recent games. Until last night, they just couldn’t quite put things together.

Last night against Vancouver, they busted out in a big way, with a 7-3 shellacking of the Canucks. Fourteen players picked up a point for the Avs. Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla, and Tyson Barrie all had three point efforts. For a team that was struggling to find goals, getting so many guys on the scoresheet, wass a beautiful thing. Just felt good to be an Avs fan again last night.

Matt Duchene is a stud

Have a night for yourself Mr. Duchene. A pair of pure class assists for Duchene to set up Iginla and Jamie McGinn goals looked to be his flashy highlights on the night. Then he went out and scored a prototypical Matt Duchene goal. A burst of acceleration through the neutral zone, before reaching top speed that makes defenders look silly, finished with a smooth little deke and tuck to beat the goalie.

Duchene is a stud. He’s going to average a point per game for the first time in his career. There is no doubt in my mind. Tonight was a fantastic night, and really, I get the feeling this is all just the beginning for Dutchy this season.

The thing about Duchene, is what on Earth is a defender supposed to do with him? You give him time and space and he has excellent passing and playmaking skills. You close in on him tight, and he will just go right around you with his speed and agility. Nobody has a better spin-o-rama in the NHL today than Duchene. Nobody.

Zach Redmond makes a statement

Those who read my material frequently or follow me on twitter, have probably heard me clamoring for Zach Redmond to get inserted into the lineup. During preseason I thought he flat out earned the job, and there were others who shared that opinion. Alas, Redmond had to show a little patience before getting his chance.

Last night he got it, and he took full advantage. Redmond made consistent and precise outlet passes all night, and made good decisions with the puck. His zone exits were fantastic. One play in particular stood out, when Redmond skated the puck out of the zone (instead of forcing a pass or chipping it to the boards). The decision led to a 3-on-2 rush for the Avalanche, and was a perfect example of why Redmond is a perfect fit not only for the Avalanche, but for the new NHL. Your defenseman need to be able to carry the puck, and make strong outlet passes. Redmond excels in both areas, and he showed it off against the Canucks.

He wasn’t tested a lot in his own end tonight, but I’m sure he can hold his own. And quite frankly, with his passing ability and smooth wheels, he’s not going to be getting pinned in his zone as much as some of the other guys Roy has been insistent on throwing out there on D.

The new ‘conference officiating on the ice prior to video review’ rule is a joke

The Avalanche have been burned by this twice already, and I have some real issues with how the league is handling video review right now.

First off, referees are allowed to confer AFTER an initial call has been made on the ice, and can change the on-ice call. Two times this season, the Avalanche have had a play where the referee standing nearest to the play, makes an initial call that seems in favor of the Avalanche. The first being a potential Dennis Everberg goal in Boston, which was initially counted (with obvious good goal pointing and flailing by the nearest official), and then the Alexandre “Pele” Burrows goal last night, which the ref initially declared no-goal (again, arm wavy motions to let everyone know… NO GOAL).

Both plays then were turned over to video review. Fine. After review, the officials came out, and declared that the on-ice calls had been confirmed. Sweet! Everberg’s goal stands, and Burrows’ goal doesn’t! At least based on the initial call on the ice the fans saw the referee nearest to the play make. But not so fast… the refs and NHL have some trickery up their sleeves.

The NHL goal review system is a joke right now. The conferences allowing refs to change on ice calls prior to video review add ambiguity, and are not adding value to getting the calls correct. Avs have been hosed twice already this season.

Seriously, here are my issues with how the NHL is handling these situations. First off, after they confer, they don’t tell you that the on-ice decision has been changed. This makes it confusing and frustrating as a fan when the post video review announcement is made. Saying on on ice-decision has been confirmed, when a referee standing two feet away made the exact opposite on-ice decision, looks ridiculously foolish at best.

Secondly, why are they coming in and conferencing to change a call in the first place? The referee who made the initial on-ice call in both cases, was the referee who had the best view of the play. If you are reviewing the play with a nice set of HD video, why alter the call made on the ice by the guy with the best view? You are giving a bunch of guys on the ice, who may or may not have had a clear view or even seen the play, the authority to alter a judgement call. Silly. This matters when video evidence is inconclusive, as was arguably the case in both plays where video review negatively affected the Avs this season. In an instance where video review is inconclusive, the call on the ice determines the outcome of the play in question.

To conclude this rant (talking to you NHL): Let the ref with the best view of the play on the ice, make the call on the ice. Don’t let officials change a judgment call on the ice with a little tea party meeting after the play. Unless there is a blatant error by an official, that needs to be corrected, there is no need for a conference. Just go straight to your video review. The current process is a joke.

Back to the Avs!!

Really, I don’t have any other major points I wanted to talk about, but I want to end on a positive note. We should end reminiscing on what was a fantastic night it was for the Avalanche. Iginla scored his first goal in a Colorado sweater, and had a smile that let everyone know! The guys didn’t let the Canucks scoring ten seconds into the game get them down. Awesome win!

Really important that the Avalanche take this momentum, and put together a nice little stretch of hockey. They are still a team in dire need of points right now. On to Winnipeg!