The Blues are responsible for not winning Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Whether they’re responsible for losing it is another story entirely.
Absolutely, St. Louis whiffed on an opportunity to ice the game with an empty-net goal late in the third. And it cannot be denied, the Note permitted Logan Couture to notch the game-tying goal to send the affair into overtime.
But in all honesty, that hockey game should still be going.
Thanks to the most blatantly blown call in St. Louis sports since first base umpire Don Denkinger’s in the 1985 World Series, the Blues lost to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime Wednesday night to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven-series. The controversy entered when San Jose’s Timo Meier knocked the puck to a teammate with his hand in front of the Blues goal, extending a scoring chance that ultimately became the game-winning goal for the Sharks.
lol this is such a hand pass pic.twitter.com/4cqWsFEgcg— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) May 16, 2019
Inexplicably, the obviously illegal hand pass was not reviewed using replay, and after a brief huddle on the ice, the referees allowed the goal to stand, thus ending the game as a win for the Sharks. According to the NHL, the play is not eligible to be reviewed for... um, reasons?
Interview with NHL series director Kay Whitmore about the call …Pool reporter: Was it a hand pass?Kay Whitmore: “It’s a non-reviewable play.”— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) May 16, 2019
The official NHL GIFs account posted a GIF of the game-winning goal, but strategically cropped out the illegal hand pass portion of the play, an indescribably tone-deaf decision considering there isn't one person in the hockey world who failed to recognize the call was blown.
Except, of course, the referees on the ice who committed the error.
Beyond series director Kay Whitmore's comments to the pool reporter, the NHL has not yet commented on the controversy, which isn't even the first major missed call that has gone in favor of the Sharks throughout these Stanley Cup Playoffs. But since the league apologized for the first one, I guess it figures that makes it all better?
I'm sure the eventual apology from the NHL for this particular blatant disregard for the rules of the sport directly affecting the outcome of a playoff game will bring plenty of solace for the Blues and their fans.
#stlblues GM Doug Armstrong just slammed his hand on the officials door. Very upset, yelled "(expletive) garbage."— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) May 16, 2019
The reaction from the hockey community has been swift and decisive in favor of the Blues following the incident:
Sharks fan here. That was a #handpass all day long. I want my team to win, but not like that. This doesn’t feel like a good win.— Rob Armendariz (@RobArmendariz27) May 16, 2019
This is the National Hockey League, we can review offside but not a hand pass in overtime of a #StanleyCupPlayoff game? Too much on the line for a game of this magnitude to end like that.— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) May 16, 2019
Salt in the wound? Timo Meier is officially credited with an assist. So, the league ‘officially’ records an assist for a hand pass that ‘officially’ didn’t happen. #NHLOfficials #MissedABigOne #Sharks #Blues #STLvsSJS— Bryan Polcyn (@bryanpolcyn) May 16, 2019
If they can go back 16 passes ago and determine a puck was a millimeter offsides to waive off a goal, the @NHL should be able to go back 1 pass and 1 second and determine a Playoff Overtime game deciding goal was a hand pass.— #TeamSTL (@Team_STL) May 16, 2019
And if you wanna go really nuts... the Sharks are now 6-1 while the Blues are 0-4 in games this season where Marc Joannette has officiated (one of tonight’s two officials).— Jon Campbell (@JonnyOddsShark) May 16, 2019
@nhl you have to figure out how to get the right calls. It’s the Stanley Cup playoffs. You have video. Take the 20secs you need and make the correct call. It was a great game and shouldn’t have been decided by a miscall. Every goal should be reviewed so they get the right call— Martin St.Louis (@mstlouis_26) May 16, 2019
There's no corner of the hockey universe that doesn't agree: the Blues got completely jobbed Wednesday night. If only that sentiment was worth anything in the box score.