Latest NHL news: Monday, January 6

By Brad Constant, Jan. 6, 2014

It’s a new year and The Hockey Ref is dialing up the coverage. This piece is just the beginning as we strive to bring our readers stories on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So you can expect a round-up from around the web every Monday covering the latest news and such from the previous weekend.

So to kick things off we have a story from Bleacher Report on the teams that could surprise us during the second half of the season. Check it out here.

The Winter Olympics are just around the corner and many nations have already announced the players that will represent them. But we’re still waiting to hear from the Canadians, thankfully there will be a press conference tomorrow to announce the Canadian roster. In the meantime NHL.com has taken stock on who may be in, and who may be out. Read the story here.

It’s safe to say that the 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs was a big success. But thankfully ProHockeyTalk.com has a video to give those who weren’t lucky enough to be at the Big House for the game an idea of what it was like. Thanks PHT! Watch the video here.

Lastly, the National Hockey League has suspended Buffalo Sabres’ defender Tyler Myers for three games for a hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus. Watch the NHL’s explanation of the suspension below.

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Phoenix Coyotes lose on Mike Smith Butt Goal

the butt goal

Phoenix Coyotes‘ goalie Mike Smith slides into the net with the puck stuck in his pants giving the game-winning goal to the Buffalo Sabres.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 24, 2013

First there was the Butt Fumble, then there was the Butt Tag, now there is the Butt Goal courtesy of Phoenix Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith, who slid into his own net with the puck stuck in his pants.  In Smith’s defense, he had no idea that the puck had fallen into the back of his pants.

It all starts with Smith making a save and giving up a rebound.  He then poke checks the puck at the same time as a Sabres’ forward, which launches the puck up into the air.  The puck ends up landing in the back of Smith’s pants without him knowing, and as every goaltender is taught, Smith scrambles back to his net and puts himself in a position to keep the puck out.  However, he ends up putting the puck in his own net, and giving the Buffalo Sabres the game-winning goal in overtime.  Here it is, the Butt Goal.

Now we’d like your opinion on which is worse, the Butt Fumble, Butt Tag or Butt Goal.  Here are the Butt Fumble and Butt Tag videos followed by a poll.  Let us know which is worse by voting.

NHL rightly defends Shark-Sabres no-goal call

intent to blow the whistle call

Referee Mike Leggo makes a controversial no-goal call during the San Jose Sharks vs. Buffalo Sabres game on Nov. 5.

By: Brad Constant, Nov. 8, 2013

There has been some talk around the local rink about the controversial no-goal call during the San Jose Sharks vs. Buffalo Sabres game on Nov. 5. Many believe that referee Mike Leggo and the National Hockey League officials in the Toronto-based war room blew the call by waiving off what looked like a clear goal. However, the NHL has defended the call under the ‘intent to blow the whistle’ rule, and rightly so – you can read the CBSSports.com story and watch the video here.

Whether you agree or disagree, we support Leggo’s on-ice decision as well as the League’s support of the call. The puck obviously crossed the goal line, but only after Leggo clearly lost sight of the puck under Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller. In fact, the only person on the ice who seems to have had eyes on the puck was Sharks’ forward Tommy Wingels. Therefore, the play should have been whistled dead.

But here is where the controversy arises, and Leggo can be called out for making a mistake. To the untrained eye it appears the Leggo does everything right except blowing the whistle at the right time. So what is Leggo’s mistake? Showmanship. He correctly washed out the attempt that hit the goal post so that everyone in the arena knew it wasn’t a goal. But he also held his arms out for far too long in a great impression of Jay Jay the Jet Plane.

We believe there would have been no issues with the call if Leggo correctly washed out the goal in the quick fashion officials are taught. He would have had his whistle in the correct position in time to blow the play dead when the puck was under Miller. Instead he held the signal and put himself in a tough situation in which he obviously had to think about the call. Thankfully he ended up making the right one and did so with conviction.

It was made worse thanks to the NHL’s mistake of not having Leggo put on the headset to talk with the officials in Toronto and discuss the call. As noted in the CBS Sports story, the NHL acknowledges that it messed up here. The pushback and claims of a blown call could have been far less if they got this right.

Either way, the right call was made in the end, and we’re sure that lessons have been learned too.