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Video replay, journalistic responsibilty, and Wes Walz’s pants score the game winner

January 2, 2007

I didn’t see the game in question, and I haven’t viewed the replay on YouTube, etc.  The end result is that the goal was counted and I guess I have to live with it.  For the game recap and a more detailed description, view this article.

I’m tired of hearing from FSN TV voices Jeff Rimer and Danny Gare about disallowed goals.  It does seem that the Blue Jackets have had more than their fair share of goals called back, but as there are no official statistics on this (that I’m aware of) I have to assume that every team in the NHL has roughly the same number.  Last season alone, it seemed like Jackets winger Jason Chimera had ten goals disallowed.  I’ve been watching hockey full-time for a few years now, and I have to say (as objectively as possible) that only on very few occassions have I completely disagreed with the eventual outcome.  Whether it’s a stick raised above the crossbar, the puck not fully crossing the line, or a skate that changes angle enough to look like a kick, it seems that the refs (in house or in the Toronto ‘war room’) get things right.  As long as you’re sure to apply the term “definitive evidence necessary to overturn”, it’s tough to argue with many of the calls made. 

The Jacket voices named above would have you believe that every puck directed legally or otherwise into the net of the opposition should be counted.  I understand that they are selected (and presumably paid) by the team and thus present the action from CBJ-colored glasses.  But it would be nice if they could be responsible commentators once in a while and note why the offending (to them) calls are correct.  Unless they have received complimentary lobotomies prior to going on the air, I find it hard to believe that they truly believe in the comments they make.  Most of what they say seems to exist solely to raise the hackles of Jacket fans.

“Gee Edna, it sure looked to me like Svitov kicked that puck in the net.  But Jeff Rimer (long time Doug MacLean employee) and Danny Gare (former Red Wings captain) say that it’s a travesty that they’re disallowing the goal.  Now, I’m pissed off too!”

In no other major sport is the act of scoring points so subjective.  Football in the professional and collegiate game comes closest with their use of replay to validate questionable scoring events.  And more often than not (please ignore last year’s AFC Championship game, Super Bowl, Oklahoma vs. Oregon, and this past weekend’s SF/DEN game, well… never mind), the video review gets it right.  Baseball is generally clear cut, and you can’t really dispute if a ball went through the net in basketball.

I don’t have the Center Ice package so I don’t get to see other local feeds.  As such, I don’t know if other areas have the same problem we have here in Columbus with the broadcasters spoonfeeding the audience a misleading lunch.  I have a hunch it’s the same everywhere, as this seems to be a necessary evil of regional broadcasting.  Having “impartial” broadcasters is one of the nice things about watching the NFL.  Football television broadcasters may disagree with a call made on the field, but it’s generally based on the perceived correctness of the call and not on how it affects one team or another.

Watching the New Years Eve game featuring the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks, we again had to suffer through Rimer and Gare crying about the two disallowed goals (a Fritsche goal disallowed due to goaltender interference and a Nash goal called back due to directing the puck into the net with his glove).  Fans could have a legitimate beef with both calls, in my opinion.  But following a win that caps off the most successful month in CBJ history, you’d think the broadcasters would have something else to talk about besides the questionable no-goals.

I try, in this forum, to not dwell on questionable items.  It probably happens from time to time, but I realize that most of the time the proper call is made.  I’ll get my swearing done while the game is on and try to be objective after it’s over.  Bad calls are made on a daily basis.  That doesn’t make them right, it just is.  If the Jackets’ TV tandem could be a bit more objective, perhaps the relatively new hockey fan base that’s growing in Columbus could grow up some and move on to being more rounded and knowledgeable hockey fans.

Jeff… Danny… do your part to help your audience.  They could use some.

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