Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How The Sabres Got Screwed - Instant Reaction

Here's presumably the best shot the video replay officials had of the goal/no-goal in question:

The puck appears to be right up against the line in that shot (and actually goes further towards the back of the net, though obscured by Henrik Lundqvist's pad). But since the camera is not directly above the goal, you don't even need to make the assumption that it crossed fully in the next frame. Look at these two pics - the puck is in the same exact position in each shot, but the first picture is taken from an angle similar to the goal cam and the second from directly above:

As you can tell, the slightest change in camera angle tells a very different story of the same situation. I understand that the reviewer must see "conclusive evidence" that the puck has crossed the line (i.e. white between the puck and the goal line), but how can the combination of the screen cap above, the fact that the puck continues to move forward after that, the angle of the overhead camera and a simple understanding of spatial relationships and the laws of physics not combine to form conclusive evidence?

On a somewhat-related note, how expensive could it be to have pucks with RFID chips in them and sensors along the goal line (and it's a lock that you see an article on that topic within the next 36 hours)? For that matter, how expensive would it be to have super slo-motion cameras like they have at so many other sporting events (is it a question of in-house versus for-television production)? Something after the freeze frame and before the puck disappears under Lundqvist's pad would have been nice.


Anonymous said...

I've got two words for the Slugs

Chris Needham said...

It was a no-goal either way. I think I saw a foot in the crease on one of those screen shots. ;)

B_Washington said...

Yeah That was a goal. Look conclusive evidence doesn't mean "See it to believe it".

If Lundqvist caught it with his glove and his glove went behind the goalline obviously they would award a goal. I don't see this as any different.

The only way that goal didn't cross the line is if it was caught in a space-time warp and didn't obey the laws of physics for a few seconds.

chanuck said...

One way to solve that sort of problem is have two cameras. One at same angle and the other opposite side. That way you could get both sides of the line.

Still after the Caps last game(this season) and the "Hip" concert I don't really feel that bad for the Bufaslugs. ;-)

Superfan #99 said...

Since it was initially ruled a no-goal on ice, and in the wording of the rule, it cannot be overturned without "conclusive video evidence", and in this instance, since the ONLY angle we had was absolutely lacking, it could not be overturned.

And in my mind, it just evens things up thanks to the Ranger goal that was disallowed last game, when there was clearly no "distinct kicking motion" involved. The wording there says "a pendulum motion", which I failed to see whatsoever.

Furthermore, I agree JP, and my friends and I have been saying as much for years now! With all of the technology available to us in this day and age, why can't we have a chip in the puck, or remote cameras on either side of the goal posts? Those mini pin cameras would be inexpensive, and totally unobtrusive, and would eliminate the potential bungling we were subjected to this evening.

It should be mandated by the league office, that each NHL franchise have a standard set of on-ice cameras, so we aren't left in the lurch at an essential time such as this.

But we all wanted more hockey anyway, right?

Anonymous said...

A note to superfan, if you look at the non-goal from Saturday, you can see his leg pushing forward to direct the puck into the net. Kicking is not necessarily a "pendulum Motion", think about it next time you kick the covers off. And I don't want to hear the "but he was just trying to stop himself". Ask anyone who skates, and they would NEVER throw their foot forward of their center of gravity to stop. The goal last night was clearly a goal, no doubt. Another case of poor officiating. Can anyone say Brett Hull, 1999?

Rage said...

I can't stand all this "it's all even" talk. The Rangers won the game where their call was blown. That means the call didn't end up mattering. And that means there's nothing to atone for.

Buffalo lost a chance at OT with this blown call.

To be fair, if the Buff had roofed the puck, this wouldn't have been a problem. Then again, we've seen a particular Alex roof many pucks over the top of the net, so maybe his idea was better.

JP said...

Lost in the commotion - what the hell was Lundqvist doing on that play in the first place?

Frank L said...

You can ask anyone-It is the providence of Buffalo sports to not only mess up our own championship runs, but to be completely F'd when we look like we might make it.

Why even have Instant Replay if they're just going to make it up anyway.

Superfan #99 said...

Anon, then why is "pendulum motion" specifically written into the NHL rule book? Is this going to be a potential problem at some point in the future, when someone on their back makes the kicking motion you describe and scores a goal? If so, we should petition the league to take that phrase out now.

Rage, the Rangers were forced into OT because of the disallowed goal, instead of winning it outright. I also think Buffalo did plenty to hinder their chances at OT last night, outside of the controversial call. If they were playing like the team we all say during the regular season, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

And for the record, I don't care for either team, as a Devils fan.

SabreMark said...

Are the cameras that are used of the highest quality? I ask because their was considerable space between frames when they ran a frame by frame.

Their have to be higher speed cameras available. The ones they use on MythBusters can slow down the speed of a bullet and show it frame by frame.

Anonymous said...

Superfan, don't know what rulebook you've been reading, but here is the text from the 2007 NHL Rulebook: 49.2 Goals-Kicking the puck shall be permitted in all zones. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who kicks a puck that deflects into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official.
It continues on from there but there is no mention of "pendulum motion". The "kicking motion" is simply one that propels the puck into the net, period.


1) This, and the several other close call goal reviews so far this playoff season makes it clear that the NHL's goal review policy/process is not working.
2) There needs to be a standardization of camera angles so one arena's camera angles are like any/every other. Also after watching Versus last evening it seemed that only one view was being shown repeatedly.
3) You'd think in the playoffs, in the biggest market, in a game televised by 2 outlets that there would be more available. The technology has to be there to use 'nano' cameras in the net or near by to get angles not currently available.

Sabres Fan said...

Where is the PANIC button?

Sabresfan58 said...

Dear NHL - Way to ruin another Sabres playoff game by having defuct technology to make the correct calls. How about installing a camera that doesn't show a shot from the nosebleeds?

PS - F U Colin Campbell. Way to admit that you guys blew "No Goal" 8 years after the fact.

With Love,

Caps Nut said...

First of all, when it comes to the technology aspect, does anybody remember the illfated FoxTraxx nonsense? One of the things that killed that was that those pucks could not be properly frozen or they ran the risk of damaging the electronics inside and rendering the electronics inside useless.

As a result, FoxTraxxx pucks weren't frozen, the pucks bounced all over the place, and the players had a fit.

Maybe the technology has changed but considering the importance of getting goal calls right, you would have the exact same problem here that you did with the FoxTraxxxx pucks.

Secondly, am I the only one who remembers Game 5 1998 Eastern Conference Finals? We had a potential third period game-tying goal wiped out because of the strategic placement of Hasek's water bottle prevented any clear view of the puck being across the line. We lost that game.

Finally, these things have a funny way of getting evened out over the long run. The Rangers dispute a call that went against them in Game 3, now it is the Buffaslugs turn to cry.

But the Buffaslugs are always looking for a reason to cry irrespective of the rules, ie. Brett Hull (the call was right because the player with the puck cannot be in an offsides position).

Sarah said...

Um, offsides was not the issue in the Brett Hull call.

Superfan #99 said...


Rule 39.4, subsection (iv) states; "Puck directed into the net by a hand or foot. With the use of a foot/skate, was a distinct kicking motion evident? If so, the apparent goal must be disallowed. A DISTINCT KICKING MOTION is one which, with a pendulum motion, the player propels the puck with his skate into the net.....This is a no goal. See also 49.2."

That's where I got the pendulum reference, and from what I saw, Karel Rachunek did not use a "pendulum motion" to propel the puck into the net.

I'm not saying you're wrong, because you saw what you saw, and it's subjective, I'm just quoting you what the rule book actually says under it's video review policy.

Possibly something (or another thing) the league needs to correct for next season?

Hopefully this, nor the Briere no-goal, become the defining moment of this series.

TG said...

As soon as I saw the first overhead replay, I turned to my wife and said, "The replay officials know it was a goal, but there's no way they're going to be able to call it a goal because they can't see the puck, even though they KNOW that it crossed the line."

And b_washington, don't be so sure about the puck in the glove. The only way they would rule it a goal is if the ENTIRE glove were in the net. I've seen several goals not counted after video review because they couldn't tell where the puck was in the glove compared with the goal line.

Love it or hate it, I actually appreciate the consistency by the NHL on this rule.

Anonymous said...

Superfan, ok 39.4 says pendulum. I'd like to see the video again. Maybe their ruling was that it went off the goalie (?). But you're right, 2 definitions for the same term. Bad rule. Any goal off a skate should be disallowed.

Anonymous said...

a) A goal is equal to one point no matter when it is scored, so regardless of what else happened in a game, having a goal revoked is having a goal revoked.

b) If "Hot Karel" Rachunek hadn't been hooked during game 3, he scores that with his stick

c) If he doesn't make a "distinct stopping motion", he plows into Miller and gets 2 minutes for goalie interference.

d) "Ask anyone who skates, and they would NEVER throw their foot forward of their center of gravity to stop." Unless they're being hooked.

e) See the pendulum motion comments above.

Also, Campbell illegally held Rachunek on the Briere non-goal last night:


which set the whole thing up.

All that said, I'm impressed with how even-keeled all the Sabre fans and articles have been. I expected a lot more belly-aching. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, no matter who wins. And yes, it definitely crossed the line in my opinion.

monsor said...

Jesus Christ...THANK YOU TG and last anonymous. Logic prevails and I appreciate that.

I was going to mention that there could be a direct comparison between Rachunek's non-goal and Pommenville's goal in game 1, but that would be needling. To judge intent is just trivial and the rule needs to be changed. They make the refs to much a part of the outcome.

SabreMark said...


And this photo proves what?!?

Wow, I was expecting some kind of smoking gun...

Anonymous said...

Um, that is how I stop, so you are wrong. Usually right foot in front on my skate. Aka T-stop.

Gary said...

I don't think RFID technology is ready for the rink yet.

As caps nut points out, Fox couldn't freeze their pucks due to its always-on transmitter, and the battery that powered it. Freeze the puck, the chemical reaction inside the battery slows, and it cannot properly power the transmitter.

The same would happen for active RFID, as well as semi-passive, since both require batteries at some point to power the transmitter. Fully passive RFID gets its power from the electromagnetic field generated by radio waves interacting with its antenna. No battery means freeze the sucker!

Except that it's balls slow in reading the info. One whitepaper puts the successful read velocity of a fully passive RFID chip at 3 mph. No chance of the puck waiting around that long for a successful read.

JP said...

Wow. Bravo, Gary (and Caps Nut).

Peter said...

Anonymous, if you are going to nit-pick on the disallowed Rangers goal, you should start earlier in the play, where the Sabres defenseman was interferred with and that started the whole play (not to mention back in the Rangers zone where the Sabres player was tripped). I believe it was Spacek who was upended along the boards and that allowed for the whole play to occur. Kotalik merely lifted the stick of the player. Campbell did the same thing last night. You can lift a stick, just not touch the hands.

The clear problem is there is too much interpretation left to the idiot officials. Campbell was called for a holding last night (the PP Shanahan scored on) when he had position for the puck and the Rangers player reached out and grabbed him. Then Zubrus has a near break and the defender LETS GO OF HIS STICK and grabs the shoulder. A holding call all year long, but not when in the largest market.

In summary, the NHL has created a mess when they could put nano cameras along the underside of the crossbar to help. Each arena should have the same exact technology and angles to keep things consistent.

None of this explains why the Sabres team we have watched has been playing at 75%.

Netsrak said...

Gee, thank you, Netsy, for the photographic inspiration back in March! :P

Gary said...

Since today is--apparently--my day to geek out here on the 'Rink: The perceived disparity between the images seen from different viewing angles is called parallax, and I can't think of any feasible way for the NHL to get around it... at least visually.

You could possibly build a lot of nano-cams into the posts and crossbar, but even then, I don't think they'd get any better an angle on the puck in this particular case.

If only there was a way to embed a line of multiple emitters in the crossbar that would form a razor-thin invisible "curtain" of non-ice-melting but ice-penetrating radiation (lasers?) read by detectors stationed below the ice along the back of the goal line. The puck (and presumably the goaltender's body) would block this radiation, kicking off one or more of the sub-ice sensors, which would then reverse as soon as the puck completely crossed the line.

Then you could run through the "frames" of data to get a one-dimensional moving "cross section" of the back of the goal line so you could track the blocking elements (goalie, puck, maybe a stick) to identify them, and ultimately figure out if the puck crossed completely.

Then again, we'd probably end up with a lot of players with thyroid problems and pulsating tumors on their necks due to the radiation. But isn't that a risk we fans are willing to take to end all this goal / no goal bickering?


p.s. Since JP owns the blog, he owns this post... so don't go trying to invent one of these... we gots prior art, yo.

JP said...

Sweet Jesus.

Normally I'd give Gary five minutes in the Smart Guy Penalty Box, but since he's giving me dibs on the idea, he escapes penalty.

Nat said...

you realize that your perspective shot is like 2 feet away whilst the arena camera is like 100 feet up high in the rafters? i'd estimate about a 20 degree difference. I think this sports photographer's picture is most conclusive.


if you translate the puck down and back, there is no room for the puck to be over the line. from above, it was really questionable because we did not know the location of the puck and the point of impact. if it was on the bottom of the pad where the angle of the goalie's pad would afford more room, it'd leave more room for debate.

was this shot after the puck was theoretically in? you can sync this image up with the video matching player positions, stick angles, etc and conclude NO.

The last point would be Briere. Why was he not hotly arguing up a storm? If anyone had the best view, it should be him. If I had made that shot and saw it go in, I'd be giving the ref an earful.

Rage said...

Nat that picture is incredible. But I still think it's a goal. Maybe I'm just obstinate.

Anonymous said...

The way to get around the parallax issue is to put the camera on the other side of the crossbar. Instead of having the downward facing camera slightly behind the net, have it slight in front of the net.

Since the rule is a puck has to completely cross the goal line it makes zero sense to have the camera where MSG has the camera. The current position would only make sense if the rules stated that a puck merely had to touch the line to count as a goal.

In addition, the rule that video evidence has to be 100% conclusive to overturn the call on the ice is incredibly flawed. Here in America, people are sentenced to death based on "beyond a reasonable doubt" not on "beyond ALL doubt." Furthermore, why is the call on the ice, which in this case was made by a referee horribly out of position and 15 feet away from the play, somehow "sacred" and more valid than a frame by frame breakdown of the play on video?