“If logic or common sense were involved, it was a goal.”
“If screen grabs off the very video involved were used, it was a goal.”
“If goal line technology, such as it was used for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this past summer, it was a goal.”
The anger, the frustration, even the bitterness jumped right off the screen. It was as if this had happened on the last day of the regular season and the Oilers needed a point to get in. But here’s one line that Terry Jones should have added:
“If Jonathan Quick wasn’t an elite goaltender, it was a goal.”
After being taken first-overall by the Oilers in June’s NHL Draft, Connor McDavid got his career off to a roaring start as he entered Sunday’s contest against the Los Angeles Kings leading the Oilers with five goals and eight points; he even assisted on the game’s opening goal. However, with just four seconds to go in regulation and his team down a goal, McDavid fell just an inch short of forcing overtime, and that was thanks to an incredible glove save by the aforementioned Quick, who preserved his team’s victory — their fifth-straight.
As far as the play itself is concerned, if logic and common sense were involved, then Quick should be commended for robbing a player of McDavid’s caliber so late in the game. That is not the case, though. Instead, many are whining about a no-goal call that rightfully could not be overturned because the replay did not show the puck crossing the line, making it inconclusive.
As Jones had alluded to, if today’s goaltender gloves were smaller, perhaps the replay would have shown that it was a goal — then again, maybe not. Even though we couldn’t see the puck in the glove from the angle above the net — or, for that matter, any other angle — Quick’s glove was on the line. Had it been entirely in the net, then the goal would have counted and the game would have gone into overtime. But again, that is not the case. Whatever issues the NHL needs to address involving their replay system — and this writer admits that there are quite a few — is not the Kings’ problem. Heck, the Kings have had breaks fall in their favour before and they’ve also been short-changed quite a few times as well. That is not unique as every other NHL team has been on both sides of this controversy. Plain and simply, that’s hockey.
In January 2014, the Kings got slighted on a goal in Detroit that bounced off the mesh over the glass before bouncing back in play and into the net. The goal was a last-minute marker which tied the game for the hometown Red Wings, ultimately leading to a shootout win.
McDavid’s no-goal on Sunday was inconclusive at best. The Red Wings goal in 2014 was as clear as day, an embarrassment by the NHL and its officials with the replay office in Toronto having reviewed the video but not overturning the decision because it was “non-reviewable”.
In January 2011, Coyotes‘ forward Martin Hanzal batted a puck into the Los Angeles net with a blatant high-stick. The initial call was a goal and even after minutes of review, the goal (inexplicably) stood.
Of course, just over a year later, the Kings were on the opposite side of a controversial call when they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets on a last-second goal thanks to a clock mishap that temporarily froze with 1.8 seconds remaining in the third. The goal gave the Kings the lead and the win which, even this writer admits was a miscarriage of justice for the Jackets, the silver-and-black should not have been awarded — at least not in regulation.
What annoys this writer most about Sunday’s controversy is how so many either overlook or ignore the goaltending prowess of Jonathan Quick in favour of crying foul on the behalf of the league’s next superstar. Yet, earlier in the period, Edmonton’s Taylor Hall somehow did not receive a penalty for shoving Anze Kopitar from behind into the boards. Instead, Los Angeles’s Brayden McNabb went to the box on a separate incident on the same play to put the Oilers on the power play. Then, on the man-advantage, none other than Taylor Hall tied the game.
So, despite the league’s crackdown on illegal — not to mention dangerous — contact, Hall got off scot-free on a play which could have severely injured Kopitar and was able to score just under two minutes later. Unfortunately for Hall and the Oilers, the Kings regained their lead, ultimately setting up McDavid’s controversial no-goal.
Connor McDavid is going to score plenty of goals this season and throughout his career. He, like anyone else, is going to find himself on the giving end of a spectacular save, and that will not — and should not — be detrimental to McDavid but a testament to that netminder’s superb ability. This should be the case for Jonathan Quick; but somehow, it is not.
Putting up numbers only Terry Sawchuk accomplished a half-century earlier en route to the Conn Smythe in 2012, coming off back surgery that fall to ultimately carry his team to the Western Final, to another Stanley Cup victory to rebounding from a lackluster 0-3-0 start this season to play his best hockey should be more than enough evidence to prove that Jonathan Quick deserves every ounce of respect he is due. But instead of making a phenomenal last-second save on the great Connor McDavid, the play resulted in Quick’s glove simply being too big or the league’s replay system being too shoddy. Quick doing what he does best by making a game-saving stop? Not a chance.
Both Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price, for example, don abnormally-large equipment between the pipes as well. However, they are revered to no end when they make game-saving stops on anyone, whether it’s a top-liner or a minor-league journeyman up for a big-league stint.
This is October. We are many months away from determining playoff spots. So, the Edmonton Oilers, their fans and the so-called “hockey experts” need to cool their jets, take a deep breath and move on. This is not the end of the world.
If the goaltenders’ gloves are really too big and if the replay system is not good enough, those are issues that the NHL is responsible for and not the Los Angeles Kings or any other team.
While their now 3-7-0 record isn’t anything to write home about, the Edmonton Oilers are a team that is headed in the right direction. With a new GM in Peter Chiarelli, a new coach in Todd McLellan to a promising nucleus of players that combines youth and veteran leadership, the Oilers will be a team worth watching in the very near future. However, if the Oilers should miss the playoffs by a point or two in April, then they can look back at Sunday’s game — assuming they have any logical reason to — and not whine about a no-goal, but be in awe of a man named Quick.
At the end of the day, regardless of how much potential Connor McDavid has or how promising the Edmonton Oilers are, like any job, there are going to be good days and bad days, and Sunday was the latter for McDavid and company. After all, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger and the London Bach Choir, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you find you get what you need.”
On Sunday night, Connor McDavid got what he needed: an answer to why Jonathan Quick is an elite netminder.