My Dad’s here this weekend, so I showed him the Sabres game tying goal-ish thing against the Leafs from last night because, hey, that scrum was funny, right?

His (accurate) takeaway, which I missed:

You have to take the hit to make the play. That goal started before the mess in the crease (which maybe should have been blown dead, sure). Sometimes you just have to be the guy on the wrong end of a hit and do the right thing with the puck.

Here’s a quick look at the goal we’re talking about, followed by a brief explanation.

Here, the Leafs win the draw. Mike Komisarek is the d-man who’s going to go back and grab it.

He heads back on it.

He sees that, suprisingly, someone is going to be forechecking him.

Rather than go play the puck and take the contact, Komisarek essentially bails out, and opts for the early hit (because being the hitter is more fun than being the hitted).

But Foligno actually wants the puck, so he wisely avoids the meaningless confrontation, goes around Komisarek (who upon trying to hit nothing, has fallen), and gets the puck.

And just like that, the puck is taken to the Leafs crease, and the Sabres score.

The whistle should have gone. The scrum was comical. It was a hilarious moment. But plays like this happen a lot when your team is eliminated from playoffs. You have to take the hit to make the play. Think about the Stanley Cup champion Bruins – those dudes took hits to make plays last year.

Ah, but at least Komisarek caught up with Foligno and came out on top.

Oh wait, no he didn’t.

Getting hit hurts. But not as much as avoiding hits hurts your team.

Comments (9)

  1. It’s moments like this I realize I’ll never understand the game at the level great players like your father do. Thanks for sharing his insight.

  2. To whistle or not to whistle…

    Can ref see the puck? Maybe, maybe not.
    Can he see the goalie (whoever that is) holding onto Leopold’s stick? Probably. Does he whistle that as a penalty? He knows goalie isn’t covering the puck with his mitts. Keep playing?

    • I say:

      1. Ref knows goalie doesn’t have it, and…
      2. Ref doesn’t see puck in the crease and no Leaf is covering it for a penalty shot, so:

      Why blow whistle?

  3. Ref had no idea where the puck was. He pointed a good couple seconds after the puck goes in. Rough play to call, though, because once he blows and the goaltender obviously didn’t have the puck, he’s got a couple angry forwards chirping in his ear.

    Poor Leafs.

  4. Its hard to say the ref should have saw the puck. He is a) much closer to the play than the camera and b) has the opposite view of the camera. From where he is he might see the puck the entire time. Also, theres no point where it looks like the goalie is covering the puck, so it must be under a player if it was covered. In those situations the ref usually lets the play go for a second or two before blowing the play dead. Its possible the puck was covered by a player and then knocked loose.

    But great point on Komisarek bailing on the hit. He could have avoided the whole thing but he was looking out for himself.

    • Komisarek to give him so credit, I think didn’t bail on the play…the Ref stopped twice before the faceoff to separate Komi and Foligno, who were slashing and chirping at each other for minutes before the faceoff… Foligno injured a leaf and destroyed another in a fight…Komi was I think going cheapshot trying to take Foligno down a peg…but of course he knew it was coming and used it to his advantage

  5. I don’t see any reason why the ref should have blown that play dead, especially considering his positioning relative to that of the camera. It’s quite clear that the goalie doesn’t have it covered, and if you watch the ref it’s also quite clear that he has identified where it is. Watch him change his positioning and bring the whistle up, he sees it and is prepared to whistle if needed. The only point where he loses it is when it goes under Scrivens and into the back of the net, at which point it really doesn’t matter as he had no intent to blow the play dead earlier and the puck is in the back of the net.

  6. To be honest – the ref saw it the whole time. You see him bring the whistle to his mouth a couple of times indicating he lost sight of it, but he misses it going in the net because he’s still watching the crease. As a ref, this happens a lot, you tend to watch for where you expect the puck to be.

  7. Senior Systems Analyst with special guest star Bob Bourne. Very nice indeed. There’s a reason your Pops scored 250 NHL goals and won four Cups. (And of course he was SI Co-Sportsman of the Year in 1987 for his charitable work, which is far better.)

    As for the goal itself… I’ve coached six-year-olds, whose only concept of the game was to surround the puck and whack at it – and I have never before seen nine skaters within five feet of the goal at the same time. That was like watching gym class or something.

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