Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Disallowed goal revisited. I have received many a response via e-mail and otherwise to my post about the WCHA and their Friday controversy in Denver. I want to thank all those with whom I have corresponded, whether we agree about what has happened or not.

I have a couple of things I'd like to add to what I said before.

First off, someone brought up a valid point. While referee Randy Schmidt is ultimately to blame for much of what went wrong, there were two other officials working on the ice with him, along with a replay official. They have to share some of the blame, too, because they had a responsibility to communicate what they saw with Schmidt and didn't do that.

Secondly, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod has broken his "silence" on this topic, speaking to - among others - Todd Milewski of The Capital Times in Madison.

(The commish gets a bit of a pass for his previous silence on the matter, as he was in Nashville for important NCAA-related stuff.)
He said he looked into the possibility that there was a clock malfunction, and he said that Denver senior associate athletic director Ron Grahame did find a glitch in the TV system that adds 0.0 between 1.0 and 0.9.

That, however, wasn't the issue to the commissioner.

"The issue was simply in the instructions that Randy (Schmidt, the referee) gave to the operator of the replay equipment: run it down to zero and stop it," McLeod said. "And, to me, that was the wrong instruction. He should have gone further back. And he would have seen because what he saw definitely was that the puck was not in the net, but what he didn't see was the puck had crossed the line and come out. It was a human error."

I trust the commissioner when he says it was a human error. I also recognize that it was more than just one guy who messed up, though Schmidt bears the ultimate responsibility (and reading between the lines, it sounds like he is going to be pretty heavily disciplined or fired).

The WCHA has a bit of work to do to restore their reputation, and I'm sure that the officials will reminded of all the protocol for review situations. None of this will get Wisconsin their point back, but there's no fair way to do that. McLeod is right. Giving Wisconsin a point will cause St. Cloud State to look at what happened to them, as they were on the wrong side of Schmidt's other unfortunate mistake this season.

Schmidt has seen his share of controversy already this season, and the latest one might not be over yet.

I've been told by a reliable source that McLeod is planning on being in Duluth for at least one game of the UMD-Minnesota series this weekend. If I get a chance to sit down with him, I'll let you know about what is said.

How to win a road NFL game this weekend. For the Chargers and Giants, I have one tip that is more important than anything else.

Take the tape of your Week Two game (San Diego and the Giants were both bludgeoned by their title game opponents in Week Two) and set it on fire. Make it a public ceremony.

Don't watch it. And whatever you do, don't take anything that happened and act like you can learn from it for this week.

Both San Diego and New York are better than they were in Week Two, and that's a good start. But it's also worth noting that Green Bay and New England aren't the same, either. The Patriots aren't going to carbon-copy their Week Two game plan, because that's just not how Bill Belichick operates. They'll come up with some different wrinkles on each side of the ball, so if the Chargers are insistent on learning lessons from that 38-14 defeat, they're probably wasting their time. Outside of playing pure fundamental football (which they didn't play in the earlier meeting), there's nothing San Diego can learn to do.

The Giants lost 35-13 to Green Bay in Week Two. Back then, the Packers didn't even muster the threat of a running game, and Brett Favre was not good throwing the ball deep. The pass defense was shaky because of poor play at safety, and the Pack didn't look like a Super Bowl contender.

If New York shows up prepared to play the same Green Bay team they played in September, they'll get worked by as many (if not more) points.

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