The goal that should have been: Caps loss a fraud

The Washington Capitals scored the same number of goals as the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday. The Caps only lost because referee Brad Watson called back one of their goals.

On the play in question, Capitals right wing Mike Knuble, pushed by a Canadiens defender, barely glanced the Habs’ goalie while on the edge of the goal crease.

The NHL rulebook says in this situation, the goal should be disallowed if “an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.”

In this case, the only significant contact between Knuble and the goalie was Knuble’s skate, which did not visibly cause the goalie to move.

“That’s a violation that hasn’t been called all year,” Knuble said.

It’s not the first time the Capitals have suffered terrible refereeing in the playoffs. They lost a game seven at home two years ago against the Philadelphia Flyers on the penalty kill from a questionable call. And who can forget that the Pittsburgh Penguins had about twice as many power plays in last year’s series?

Notably, Knuble — and his then-teammate Flyers — nearly murdered the Caps’ goalie when they beat Washington two years ago. Then, Knuble largely got away with it. But now that he’s a Capital, a touch sensitive enough for a baby is enough to call back a goal.

The referee, Watson, was standing in a position such that the goalie was in the way of his view of Knuble’s contact with the goalie. It’s unlikely he was able to see the contact with his own eyes.

Under NHL rules, the play is not reviewable by video.

The goal tied the game at one at the beginning of the third period. Having it taken away sucked momentum from the Caps like a vacuum. The Caps had been dominating the Canadiens the last two games of the series with nothing to show for it because of the Montreal goalie’s unfathomably good play.

It is a bitter, bitter pill for Caps fans to swallow when a playoff series is decided by a referee’s clearly errant call. What makes it worse is the longstanding pattern of questionable refereeing for the Capitals in the playoffs.

Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau revealed the Canadiens had been quietly lobbying the league on the very question of goalie interference throughout the series.

Montreal “talked about us being in front of the net all the time to the supervisor. I don’t know if that had any effect or not,” he said.

Did the NHL’s famous bias for Canadian teams give Montreal an edge on the most significant moment of the series?

[poll id=66]

  • Bryce Woodyatt

    No the Caps lost because Ovechkin opened his mouth when his team went up 2-1 or 3-1 when he said ‘Halak is starting to shake when he drinks his water, hes scared’

    Anytime some player opens his mouth like that in a playoff series he always ends up eating his words.

    And a bias to Canadian teams? hook me up with some of the drugs your doing. The same bias that moved the Jets to Pheonix and the Nordiques to Colorado? yea right


    This is pure sour grapes by a Caps fan. Excuses are for losers. I watched the play several times over. It was interference. Knuble knocked Halak over. He had no chance to play the puck. It was a good call. But even if it HAD been a bad call, they happen to all teams. Champions overcome them. Chumps whine about them.

  • Bruinfanseenitall

    You see, always Montreal goalies, I wonder what they do with the equipment.

  • Carter Wilson

    Quite possibly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read in my life.

    Quite being such babies, every team has to deal with bad referring, and if there has been anything famous about the NHL’s bias, it’s that the league wants to spread popularity in the USA at all costs, especially in the south. Such as the case of Canada losing 2 healthy teams in the past 20 years to the USA, the NHL’s refusal for potential buyers wanting to purchase a struggling American team and move it to Canada. (The case with Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Florida, Atlanta), but will openly allow anyone to purchase the team if they intend on moving it to a new American city such as Kansas or Las Vegas.

    If a team moves to Canada, there won’t be any new hockey fans, if a team moves to Kansas, there’s a whole new market, and that’s ALL that matters in the NHL’s eye. Where was the Canadian favouritism in ’93 when the Toronto Maple Leafs were about to eliminate the LA Kings and face the Montreal Canadians in the Cup final, only to have Wayne Gretzky blatantly high stick a Leafs’ player without a penalty call, later score and win the game then series.

    Not to mention the refs let a pretty obvious high stick against Hall Gill with 3 minutes left in the game go, only to later call a soft high sticking penalty against the habs with 1:45 left in a 1 goal game!

  • Bruinfanseenitall

    This story is almost 100% spot on, except the author has generalized it too much. Its not a Canadian bias, its a Montreal Canadiens bias. You dont see the Leafs get calls like this, or Edmonton or Calgary, its ALWAYS MONTREAL.
    Trust me, Im a bruins fan, this franchise, if you can believe this, actually defeated the Bruins 18 straight playoff series. Even 1971 when the Bruins were a total Juggernaut. I can SERIOUSLY doubt this was because Montreal was the better team EVERY time. No, you see, these “phantom goalie interference” penalties have cost the Bruins SEVERAL games, as do the calls like the supposed “cross check” on Mike Green that led to a Montreal goal.
    Oh this story is much bigger and much more about the Habs then it is any Canadian bias by the NHL. Just watch the Pens series next. Its a sweater thing people not a Canadian thing.

    • seasoned

      all I can say is LOL. It’s a big conspiracy? Great you’re a bruins fan, did you even watch game 2? Watch games 1 though 5, then tell me there’s a big Canadiens conspiracy.

      You lost all credibility when you questioned the Mike Green cross check. Here’s a direct quote from a TSN article:

      “Moments after Halak made a pair of big stops on Laich and Semin from in tight, Green was on a rush into the Montreal zone when the puck slid off his stick. His response was to cross-check Andrei Markov, taking an offensive zone penalty and sending the Canadiens to the power play.

      “It was well deserved,” Boudreau said of the penalty. “He deserved it. It wasn’t a smart play by Mike.””


      What do you know a Bruin fan with the hockey IQ of a 4 year old. Go figure.

      • Bruinfanseenitall

        Yeah the stuff Ive watched over the last 30 years, nothing funny going on at all with the big CH. LOL. Green was defending when the crosscheck occurred obviously you got the wrong call son, and it cost Washington a goal. And it was a marginal push, but we know your little weenies on the Habs know exactly when to take a dive, right Lapierre? Oh right the Lapierre thing, that want a dive either, was it?
        Dude, you think cause Montreal lost 3 of the first four games, there is no conspiracy? LOL. I lost all credibility right?
        Nah, you need to look at the NHL for credibility after that call my friend, not someone who comes in and speaks the truth.
        Now back to the real question, what does the Montreal organization do with the goalie equipment so that they can throw any STIFF in nets and he starts stealing games? With the PHENOM Price on the bench?
        Hey, or lets look at the penalties called in the last two games. Outshot 100-30 in two games, but Washington was only able to generate 1 more power play than Montreal got, ok there goes your credibility now.
        HAHA you Hab fans make me laugh.

        I only pray the B’s can avoid that stinking smelly sweater, that way they can avoid the referees as well. Im sure the Pens will make mincemeat of the Habs though Halak or not. So, book your riot time now!!!!

        • seasoned

          Sure Boudreau agrees with the call, but you know better. A marginal push?? The puck was on the boards and he takes 2 hands on his sticks and cross checks markov. You could use that as a referee training video on what is a cross check. Dim wit. Get a life. Ya the first lapierre dive was a good call. The second one was a stick in the chin and he popped right back up. And Gionta a diver?? Are you kidding me? He got corkscrewed and gets a diving call, and they don’t even call the trip!!! 3 dives in 1 game, with no call going the other way on any of the dives? How often do you see that?? MUST BE A CONSPIRACY!!!!

          Sure though, blame your terrible record over the last 30 years against the habs on a conspiracy. Easier to take than the truth I suppose. We all know the real reason you don’t want to face the habs.

        • seasoned

          Right “but we know your little weenies on the Habs know exactly when to take a dive, right Lapierre?”

          LOL you mean the weenie 6’2″ 200lbs+ lapierre. Good example. Hey Bruinfan, your hockey IQ is showing… and it’s embarrassing.

        • seasoned

          “Dude, you think cause Montreal lost 3 of the first four games, there is no conspiracy? LOL. I lost all credibility right”

          So you’ve watched hockey for over 30 years and you still use the word dude? Are you a hippy?

          Where did I say because the habs lost 3 of the first 4 games there is no conspiracy? I said watch games 1-5, and look at who got the calls.

          You get dumber by the post.

        • seasoned

          “Outshot 100-30 in two games, but Washington was only able to generate 1 more power play than Montreal got, ok there goes your credibility now.”

          When a team gains the blue line and immediately throws the puck on net, how do you expect them to draw a penalty?? Maybe if Washington knew how to cycle the puck they would draw more penalties, and maybe even win the series.

          Again, you have no idea what you’re talking about. I doubt you watched more than game 7.

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  • Chris Timm

    this writer is retarded, every real nhl fan knows that the nhl as a whole doesnt gain anything if the cup is won in a hockey crazy canadian city, they both want and need the cup to be won in non traditional hockey markets to expand there audience. the nhl couldnt give a shit about the habs winning the cup for the 25th time or whatever it is. Gary bettman and his boyfriends wanted ovechkin and the caps to go to atleast the 3rd round so he could get his nut watchin crosby vs ovechkin……i cant believe someone pays you to write this ish…..try un-biased reporting douche lord, before u start cryin bout biased officiating……..what a douche!

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