The Tampa Bay Lightning finally start to show some offense against the Columbus Blue Jackets and suddenly everything is taken away by a ridiculous call.
There is no denying the officiating in the National Hockey League has been questionable, at best, so far this season. Unfortunately, it’s not just the Tampa Bay Lightning feeling the sting. At the same time, one could not blame a Lightning fan for feeling like the world is out to get them; especially after tonight’s contest.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a lackluster first period in terms of offense against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus. It took the Lightning the whole of 10:16 seconds into the period before even registering their first shot on goal.
When the buzzer would sound to end the first period, Tampa Bay Lightning fans hoped for nothing more than a better effort from their team in the second period. While the Lightning wouldn’t bring the same electricity the fans have become accustomed to as of late, there was a considerable difference from the first 20 minutes.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be long before the wind would be unceremoniously snatched out from under them, and by no fault of their own. The Lightning would fight for puck possession in the offensive zone. Ondrej Palat finds himself face to face with Jack Johnson behind the Blue Jackets’ net.
Just as Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison fires off a shot that beats Bobrovsky and sails into the back of the net, NHL referee Tim Peel would put his arm in the air and waive off the goal citing goaltender interference. Much like the entirety of the Bolts Nation, we call shenanigans on this one.
As expected, Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper would not let something like this stand and challenged the call on the play. The referee quickly made his way over the boards where he would pick up his magical headset that puts him in contact with the “hockey gods” in Toronto.
Much to the surprise of just about anyone who isn’t a Columbus Blue Jackets fan, the call on the ice stands and the Tampa Bay Lightning lose their timeout and any future challenges in tonight’s encounter. Once again, we call shenanigans on this one.
Before we go any further, let’s take another look at the play that caused all this chaos to begin with.
As we mentioned before, Ondrej Palat finds himself tied up with Jack Johnson behind Bobrovsky. Suddenly, Bobrovsky tumbles to the ground as the puck sailed right past him on his right hand side. Tampa Bay Lightning fans start to cheer just as the referee sticks his arm up and snatch all hope away from them.
After Coach Cooper challenged the call and referee Tim Peel conferred with the “hockey gods” on the play, Peel would quickly make his way to the center of the ice. Here is what Peel had to say.
"“The call on the ice stands. There was no goaltender interference.”"
So wait…the call on the ice was goaltender interference. Now, you want to say the call on the ice stands, but then affirm there was no goaltender interference? As if this wasn’t bad enough, he finished off by proclaiming the Lightning had lost their timeout and any future challenge in tonight’s encounter.
So, what you’re telling us is not only did you make a bad call, but you can’t even manage to get the announcement of said bad call out correctly? Honestly, is this the best the National Hockey League has to offer? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.
Here’s where things get even more interesting. The National Hockey League decides they are going to give a further explanation as to what transpired on the ice. Unfortunately, it’s not what any Tampa Bay Lightning fan wants to hear.
The NHL determined that it was Ondrej Palat who caused Jack Johnson to come into contact with Sergei Bobrovsky and cause him to be unable to make the save on Garrison’s shot. Therefore, the call on the ice stands.
So…allow us to take all of this in. It’s Ondrej Palat’s fault that Jack Johnson skates backwards, bent in half, and makes contact with his own goaltender, rendering him unable to make the save. Right…
There are a few things we’d like to say here. The first of those is, Sergei Bobrovsky deserves an Oscar for the performance he put on in this play. Bobrovsky was tapped in the skate by his own player and did his best Sidney Crosby impression as he dove towards the ice. Good on him for playing the villain here.
Second of all, Ondrej Palat made minimal contact with Johnson on the play. The assertion that Palat is responsible for Johnson’s inability to skate on the play is laughable at best. Furthermore, Palat makes zero contact with Bobrovsky until after the puck is making its way back out of the net and the play is already dead.
It is becoming glaringly obvious that something is irrevocably broken within the NHL’s officiating system. This has been a problem for many years now, but has grown increasingly obvious in the early part of the 2016-17 season. Making matters worse, there seems to be no end in sight for this kind of shoddy work.
By no means are we making an excuse for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s play over the course of the last few games. There are many factors that have contributed to the Lightning’s less-than-decent performance over the course of the last few games, but the uneven and sometimes incompetent officiating is definitely not helping.
The Tampa Bay Lightning definitely have an uphill battle to fight tonight. Unfortunately, until the team can find a way to start working as a cohesive unit as they did at the onset of the 2016-17 season, Lightning fans are going to be in for a stressful ride.