TV producer suspended for not showing replay

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — FSN Pittsburgh has indefinitely suspended a longtime hockey producer for not quickly showing a replay that could have caused a short-handed goal to be awarded to Flyers forward Simon Gagne against the Penguins on Thursday.

The producer, Lowell MacDonald Jr., is the one-time lead hockey producer at ESPN and is the son of former Penguins forward Lowell MacDonald.

Gagne’s shot appeared to cross the goal line while Penguins goalie Brent Johnson was covering it during the second period of the Flyers’ 7-4 victory, but the on-ice officials did not signal a goal. TV replays made available to NHL officials in Toronto were inconclusive.

Moments after play resumed, FSN Pittsburgh aired a replay from an overhead camera that showed the puck crossing the goal line. A call cannot be reversed by use of replay once play has started.

TV rights holders are required to make available all angles of a disputed play. Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia also aired the game, but only FSN Pittsburgh’s telecast contained video from the overhead camera.

FSN Pittsburgh, which carries all Penguins game except those televised by NBC and Versus, said in a statement Tuesday that there “is nothing more important than the integrity of the game.”

“During last Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a definite replay of a Flyers goal was not aired prior to the conclusion of the official review and, as a result, a Flyers goal was not awarded,” FSN Pittsburgh said in the statement. “Fortunately, this did not change the outcome of the game. Nonetheless, FSN Pittsburgh’s failure to provide video to the league officials in a timely manner was wholly unacceptable. FSN Pittsburgh has addressed this matter and has taken steps to ensure that such a failure does not occur again.”

The Penguins issued a statement supporting the decision, saying, “We fully support FSN Pittsburgh in its reaction to this issue. The integrity of the game is paramount.”

MacDonald Jr., 45, joined FSN Pittsburgh in 2006 after previously working for ESPN and on Buffalo Sabres telecasts. His father scored 140 goals for the Penguins from 1970-78.