NHL to Pittsburgh Penguins: “Uh, whoopsie”
One of the the great games of the opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs was the tilt between the in-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. The Pens were one of the hottest teams in hockey down the stretch and had finally found their health at the right time. Sidney Crosby was back and playing well, and added dangerous levels of depth to an already excellent Pittsburgh squad. Philly, however, had found ways to beat Pittsburgh during the season, even in Pittsburgh, so the matchup was intriguing to say the least. After one period, it looked like the depth of the Pens was going to be too much for the Flyers, as Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period. But the Flyers weren’t out of it quite yet, and they scratched their way back, rallying over the next two periods to tie it and force overtime where they came away with a 4-3 win. The rally was sparked by a breakaway goal by Flyer Danny Briere in the second period…that actually never should have counted.
NHL executive Colin Campbell said Thursday that linesman Tony Sericolo erred in not whistling the play dead for offsides before Danny Briere’s first goal in Game 1 of the Penguins-Flyers series.
“There’s no other way to explain it but a missed call,” the NHL’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations told The Canadian Press. “We’re as upset as Pittsburgh, almost. It’s a mistake.”
“Ummm, whoops?” is a nice way to try and make amends. It was good that he tagged on that qualifier “almost” when he was trying to commiserate with Pens fans, because there’s NO way that the league is actually as upset as a city of crazed hockey fans done wrong. Hell hath no fury, and all that.
Pittsburgh is quickly trying to move past the blown call and get ready for Game 2. Head coach Dan Bylsma was adamant that his team didn’t lose the game because of that play and Crosby reiterated the point, saying the Pens now had to get over it. However, it was a big momentum swing. The first goal in a rally is always the hardest to get and a breakaway is a great way to change the flow of a game. Without it, maybe the Flyers aren’t able to climb all the way back? Who know, but you can expect Pens fans to dust off their boo-bird skills for Game 2 every time there’s an offsides call.
The larger question, though, is how could he have missed it? Looking at replays, Briere is offsides by a couple of feet. I mean, it isn’t even close…but it was coming off a quick exchange on a neutral zone turnover, so the linesman needed to get his head around in a snap to see the whole exchange, which it turns out, he wasn’t able to do. So, Tony Sericolo, you blew a call in a big playoff matchup that turned the tide of the game against the home team and now your bosses have told the world “yep, he failed at his job,” so I just have one follow up question: Worst day ever? Yeah, worst day ever. That’s what I thought.