Blog Entry

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:43 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 8:49 pm

By Brian Stubits

PHILADELPHIA -- For the first 35 or so minutes, the fifth edition of the Winter Classic was on its way to being the most forgettable. By the end, it was one of the most memorable. And it was a Henrik Lundqvist save away from being the most controversial.

With 19.6 seconds left and a mad scramble in front of the Rangers net, the play was blown dead. What came next was a penalty shot from Danny Briere, the Flyers trailing 3-2, the result of Ryan McDonagh covering the puck in the crease according to the officials.

It was the most dramatic moment in a Winter Classic to date.

"It was just a big scramble in the end they started to get pucks in front," Lundqvist said. "I didn't really see the puck I just stretched out my right leg and tried to stay on the post there and then I hear the whistle and then I hear the ref 'penalty shot.' I couldn't believe it."

Not surprisingly, neither could Rangers coach John Tortorella. "The penalty shot, I still don't understand."

The fans came to their feet when Briere circled in his own of the ice, getting ready for the chance to tie the game. Briere got the call instead of Claude Giroux, tied for the NHL's league lead in points after his beautiful backhand goal earlier in the game.

"We had a choice between the guys that were on the ice," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It comes down to really between Danny and Claude, they're both regulars in the shootout. I think Danny, being a natural goal scorer, thrives in that area a little bit more. It was my decision."

So Briere came down deliberately, eventually firing the shot at Lundqvist's five hole. Denied.

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"I just tried to be patient and do my thing," Lundqvist said. "He's a tricky guy. If I make the first move he's going to score. Obviously there's a lot of pressure on me there. I couldn't believe when he called it a penalty shot but it was exciting. The whole game was exciting. The end was pretty intense but it was great."

It was definitely intense. The Rangers had to find every bit of strength to hold off a massive Flyers push to close the game that was aided by some penalties, ones that Tortorella wondered about after the game. For as forthright as Lundqvist was admitting to his surprise, Tortorella was as subtle as an elephant walking across down the street.

"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said afterward. "It started with the non-call on Gabby's [Marian Gaborik] walk, he gets pitch-forked in the stomach and then everything starts going against us.

"For two good referees, I thought the game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they did want to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they have meetings about that or what. They're good guys, I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."

One of those calls that didn't go their way was against Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. He was advancing up the left wing with about a minute to go, hunting an empty-net goal to end the suspense. He was taken down by Kimmo Timonen. Instead of a goal for the Rangers, Callahan was called for holding the stick to match Timonen's interference.

"Apparently I was holding his stick," a bewildered Callahan said after the game. "The stick was up by my chin. It was a tough one."

As a result Callahan, one of the Rangers' best shot-blockers, was left to watch that dramatic sequence from the penalty box.

"I was in the box but from what I saw it looked like Richards was pushing the puck out of the crease," Callahan said. "Hankie then comes up with a huge save to win it for us."

It was a huge save that likely saved the Winter Classic conspiracy talk from being at a fever pitch. What Tortorella said was a bit tongue in cheek -- I think -- but there would have been a lot more of the same cries coming from outside.

It certainly made for one memorable finish, that much can't be disputed.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:03 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Whiners?! I was relegated to be content with the much deserved win after the game, but all I could read about after the game was the last 5 minutes. Must have been something to that. What is not talked about much is the stick in Gaborik's stomach as he carried the puck down the middle, but I shouldn't comment because I guess I'm whinning... oh no, sorry winning! If that is your best comment to these post maybe you should take a timeout. 
All in all it was nice to see the rangers gert the win they deserved. 

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:00 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

3rd period officiating made the game hard to watch.  It was exciting, but all i kep thinking was "the fix is in." 

Between last weeks victory at the Garden and with all the help provided by the guys in stripes yesterday, the Rangers definately demonstrated that they are better than the Flyers right now.  Have not been able to say that in a long, long time. 

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:45 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Callahan reached up and held the stick.  Embellishment no,  holding the stick YES.  Sorry,  and I'm as objective as they come.

Since: Aug 21, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:37 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

As a fan, I'm done with the NHL until the rules get rediscovered.

Hey HockeyNotSoccer,

You will be missed!


Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:18 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

There is no way Callahan embellished that play.  What's his incentive to do that? He's at the Flyers blue line with no one in front of him. If he can keep going forward he can walk the puck into the net and game over. 

One of the worst calls I've ever seen in a NHL game.

Conversely, I actually thought the penalty shot was the right call.  Even if Richards didnt close his hand on the puck, he was in the goalie crease attempting to sit on the puck.  But it never should have got to that - Rangers should have been on the power play for the last 50 seconds.

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:13 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Neither a flyers or rangers fan here. At first look, I thought Callahan was severely hooked, but on the slow motion replay I could see that he dropped to his knees as soon as the stick was near his midsection. If anything, I believe the commentators were right with the "embellishment" call on Callahan.  The stick did make its way to Callahan's face, but that because he went down. Remember that when you are moving forward, and a person hooks you up high, your legs should fall forward, not behind you.

Since: Oct 30, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:58 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

In the end, all Boston fans are A$$holes. your comment is the proof. This is the Ranger's year!!!! Even when the ref's are against the Ranger's, they still win!! When the Ranger's beat the Bruins, you can wipe the egg off of your face and kiss my A$$!!!

Since: Oct 12, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:53 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

All Callahan did was try to scramble through the hook and continue after the puck.  That is the way he plays the game.  The call was BS.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:03 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

I think the shame of this is that, like most commentators on TV, the writer of the article for CBS, Stubits, accepts that the spectacle of the whole disgraceful game is sufficient to justify the total lack of sane officiating going around in the NHL right now.  He sums up what ought to be an article about how a potentially fun outdoor game was tarnished by piss-poor officiating (which is par for the course in the league - the real story of hocky nowadays), by saying "at least it was memorable!"  OK.  I (and most fans, I'd wager) don't give two craps for "memorable."  We aren't in it for spectacle; we want to see our teams win and be treated fairly under the rules.  Clearly, that fair play idea is gone from the NHL right now.  Stubits and others should stick to that, try to fight that interest-killing, enthusiasm-killing unfairness first, then worry about promoting the spectacle that is the Winter Classic. 

As a fan, I'm done with the NHL until the rules get rediscovered.  A game without fairness is not a game; it's a scam on the fans.

Since: Jan 1, 2012
Posted on: January 3, 2012 6:28 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

McDonagh penalty and penalty shot were bs (rule is closing your hand on the puck in the crease) but Callahan penalty was a good call. With Lundqvist in net penalty shot was a gimme. Can't wait to face the mighty Bruins out of that rough Northeast division on the 21st.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or