NBC Comes Up Short In Goal Review

There’s certain things that a national television broadcast should do, at least from a fan’s perspective. One is to just show the damn game. Just make sure it looks good and is presentable on the small screen. Second is to serve the fans, and keep them informed with all the pertinent information to the game. Third is to give you certain features that folks in the arena can’t see, like access to multiple, instant replays.

If you judge it by these three standards, it’d probably be fair to say that NBC failed all of them on Sunday. As the buzzer sounded, a puck that New York Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko threw from behind the net came out in front, ricocheted off a Washington Capitals defenseman and into the net behind Washington goaltender Michal Neuvirth. It went in, as play-by-play man Mike Emrick pointed out, as the green light signifying the end of the period turned on. There was a review to see if it was a good goal or not. It was determined that it went over the line too late.

However, if you’re a Ranger fan that watched on NBC, you’d think you were totally gypped by the call. Because the clock on NBC’s scoreboard graphic read 0.2 seconds left in the period. The referee assured the crowd that the clock had read 0.00 when it crossed. Now, if you’re even the most reasonable of Rangers fans, who are you going to believe in your heart of hearts? Obviously the one that says you got screwed.

Now, as Eddie Olczyk and Darren Pang tried to explain on the telecast, the clock at the NHL’s War Room in Toronto – which reviews all calls on the ice – had a clock in sync with the one at Madison Square Garden, the official clock. The network’s scoreboard was not in sync with The Garden’s. That’s fine, as long as NBC were to show the correct angle along with the correct clock.

But they didn’t, not until at least an hour after the goal, show an angle that combined the correct, in-house timer with the over-the-net camera angle that would show when the puck had fully crossed the goal line. A full hour after then. This is a completely inexcusable mistake by NBC, that didn’t service the fans, and only stood to make them angrier. They didn’t provide the fans with information that was absolutely necessary, and should be available to even non-national telecasts, and almost always is.

This was part of an afternoon that was kind of a mess for NBC, and possibly the worst broadcast the network has done in the six years they’ve been on the air, save maybe the Preakness problems of 2007. A second intermission satellite hook-up between studio host Liam McHugh and VERSUS analysts Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury was clearly poorly set-up, with Roenick and McHugh talking over each other for a solid 30 seconds, which feels like about 30 minutes in TV time. It was something Roenick mocked in a tweet at McHugh afterwards, but he curiously took the tweet down a little later.

The whole game was a bit of a weird one. There was Sean Avery breaking his own stick to delay a face-off. Then a referee breaking his fibula, causing an extended delay. Everything seemed off. In the end, playoff hockey is perfect, but when you don’t show a replay that was crucial to the game, then fans are going to question a network’s credibility, maybe even an entire league’s.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

5 Responses to NBC Comes Up Short In Goal Review

  1. MDWDFW says:

    There is precedent for this NBC replay screwup. The Hurricanes got screwed out of a goal in Game 7 of the 2006 Finals when NBC produced a replay showing a puck across the goal line at the end of the first period AFTER the second period had already started.

  2. leafsfan1967 says:

    Steve, your points are really well taken here. NBC needs to be more prepared for situations like this in the future. Doc seemed behind the play on a number of goals as well. Play by play guys are supposed to anticipate the play and govern their calls accordingly, but he seemed off his game yesterday.

    We all have bad days but NBC needs to put their best foot forward and yesterday they didn’t.

  3. Caps Nut says:

    Aside from the last-second goal controversey, Doc, Edzo, and Pang were just terrible yesterday. There were three occasions where they clearly identified the wrong player (confusing Carl Alzner with Scott Hanan, Marco Sturm with Nick Backstrom, and Sean Avery of all people with Marc Staal).

    Furthermore I couldn’t get over the constant harping on Michael Neuvirth’s lack of puck handling on Ranger dump-ins. Neuvirth’s puck handling skills aren’t very good and the Caps adjust their defense and puck retrieval accordingly. But to listen to Pang and Edzo, the Caps lost yesterday because Neuvirth didn’t play the puck.

    Finally, taking a look at the Official NHL Suggestion Book, Suggestion 36 states that the Goal Judge:

    “shall signal, normally by means of red light, his decision as to whether the puck passed between the goal posts and entirely over the goal line. His only decision is whether the puck actually entered the net, not how or when it went in. The light must be illuminated for a period of five (5) seconds each time the puck enters the net regardless of circumstances. It is up to the Referees and/or Video Goal Judge to decide if it is a goal.”

    So why was Doc insisting multiple times that the Goal Judge must wait for the referee’s signal before turning on the red light?

    It seemed to me that Doc, Edzo, and Pang were woefully unprepared for yesterday’s game.

  4. leafsfan1967 says:

    >>So why was Doc insisting multiple times that the Goal Judge must wait for the referee’s signal before >>turning on the red light? It seemed to me that Doc, Edzo, and Pang were woefully unprepared for >>yesterday’s game.

    And we wonder why the NHL gets lousy ratings on NBC. As I said earlier we can all have a bad day, but yesterday was a broadcast we can only hope to forget.

  5. Spiderpig says:

    They also misidentified McCabe as Prospa on the point during a Rangers power play. At least Prospal was actually on the ice at the time.

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