Video replay gets goal call right in Philly as lack of replay robs Tigers pitcher

Wednesday night the Philadelphia Flyers pulled off a 4-3 win in overtime, taking their first game of their series with the Chicago Blackhawks after dropping the first two in Chicago. There are several factors that lead to Philly’s victory…not the least of which was that their second goal was made possible by the league’s ability to utililize video replay to get calls right.

With the score tied 1-1 in the first period, Chris Pronger’s shot on goal deflected off of Scott Harnell’s stick and slithered through Blackhawk’s goalie Antti Niemi. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson swept the puck away and, even though the red light was flashing, play continued for another 1:42. The boys in Toronto then took another look at the play and correctly awarded the goal to Philly… although initially they gave it Pronger before changing it to Hartnell.

The rest, as the old saying goes, is history.

This was a prime example of why the NHL…and NFL for that matter… implemented video replay to help in getting calls right…but not all professional sports have such ability. And if you’ll allow me to divert away from hockey for a moment, I’d like to share with you way having such rules in place are a very, very good thing for sports.

While game-three of the Stanley Cup Finals was playing out, 450 miles west-northwest of Philadelphia another major sporting even was taking place in Detroit’s Comercia Park. The Tigers were hosting the Cleveland Indians in a MBL American League Central Division matchup and a little bit of history was a-brewin’. Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga was in the process of pitching a perfect game…no opposing batters reaching base either by base hit, walk, error or hit batsman. It’s something that has only been accomplished 18 times prior to this season. Oddly enough however, two perfect games were pulled off just last months.

But never has a Detroit Tigers pitcher tossed a perfect game.

There were two outs in the top of the ninth…Detroit leading 3-0…and the assembled crowd was on their feet in anticipation of that last, historic out. Jason Donlald was Cleveland’s last hope. He hit a bouncer to the right side of the infield…first baseman Miguel Cabrera moved to his right to field it…turned and flipped to Galarraga who was covering first…the ball was squeezed in the pitcher’s glove, right foot made contact with the bag…OUT!

Joy…rapture…pandemonium…time to celebrate the first perfect game in Tigers history…

Ummm, wait…not so fast.

First base umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe…and the perfecto was lost.

Now, upon further review of the play, it was clear that the runner was indeed out. However, MLB has no rule which allows for the play to be reviewed and…if deemed necessary…overturned.

The play and the call…not to mention the historical context… were errily similar to the one that still haunts St. Louis Cardinal fans from game-six of the 1985 World Series against the Kansas City Royals…one that allowed the Royals to sneak out of the park with a 2-1 win. KC then came back the next night to pound the Cards 11-0 in game-seven, taking…some in St. Louis would argue, stealing…the championship.

The play that will forever stay in the memory of Tigers pitcher Armando well as umpire Jim Joyce's (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The play that will forever stay in the memory of Tigers pitcher Armando well as umpire Jim Joyce's (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

To Joyce’s credit, the 23-year umpiring veteran openly admitted he blew the call after he saw the replay for himself. “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the #$%@ out of it”, he said afterwards. “I just cost that kid a perfect game”.

“I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay”.

Also not to be overlooked here is the way the pitcher who was robbed of his spot in the MBL history book reacted to the play. “I would have been the first person in may face”, Joyce continued. “But he never said a word to me”.

Galarraga retired the very next batter after the controversial play…completing the “28-out perfect game”.

After the game, Joyce asked to speak to Galarraga to offer up his apologies.

“You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry’”, Galarraga said of the meeting. “He felt really bad”.

Now, moving back to hockey…when I was watching the Blackhawks-Flyers game last night and the reviewed play gave the Flyers the deserved goal, my first thought was about the fans back in Chicago who were coming to the realization that their team was going to be on the wrong end of this deal. It reminded me of a play three years ago that went against the Thrashers in game four of the playoffs.

I apologize in advance for re-opening this old wound…

As you’ll no-doubt recall, the Rangers were up 3 games to none and the Thrashers were clinging to their slim hopes to remain alive in the playoffs. The score was 2-2 in the third period and a shot zipped by Johan Hedberg, deflected off the bottom of the crossbar, landed on the line and then kicked out.

It looked like we had dodged a bullet…but upon further review, the puck hit the ice right on it’s side allowing for just a sliver of white ice to be seen between the red line and the black puck. Clearly, it was a goal and a 3-2 Rangers lead.

I remember cursing that damned video replay rule that night!

But in the end, the correct call was made…as was the case last night in Philadelphia…and that’s what is best for integrity of the game.

Unfortunately for Armando Galarraga and Tigers fans…this is not the case in MLB.

112 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

June 6th, 2010
6:51 pm


June 6th, 2010
6:56 pm

this via twitter doesn’t look good for flyers tonite >>> mirtle “In history of best-of-7 finals, teams winning Games 1-2 at home and losing Games 3-4 on the road are 9-0 in Game 5.”

World Be Free

June 6th, 2010
7:56 pm

Brendan-that’s exactly what people have been saying for years- kids have no respect for each other’s well being when they have been in full metal jackets since they were five. Today’s equipment also accounts for the rise in shot blocking by guys who would never had done so with yesterday’s equipment. Add to this, the shoulder and elbow pads that are responsible for more concussions that hits from behind; Don Cherry has been talking about this for years and he’s right.

I look at the pads in my hoceky bag and laugh. Old school shoulder pads went out when Brendan Shanahan retired.


June 6th, 2010
8:28 pm

gaaad…weak x-check call!


June 6th, 2010
8:59 pm

Pull Leighton?? What say you?


June 6th, 2010
10:02 pm

Anyone else notice that in the 2nd intermission interview that Dustin Byfuglien sounds like Marvin Martian?


June 6th, 2010
10:30 pm

Anyone else notice that in the 2nd intermission interview that Dustin Byfuglien sounds like Marvin Martian?

GS29 – Yeah…and right now he’s looking to blow up the Philadelphia Flyers because they are obstructing his view of the Stanley Cup!


June 6th, 2010
10:40 pm

Kracker, I AGREE with the decision to pull Leighton. If for no other reason, to change momentum. Did the “pressure” get to Leighton? Shrugs. I don’t know. But it was 3 goals on 13 shots. And now, due to a third Flyer goal by James vanRiemsdyk, Boucher will, once again, like Game One, get tagged for the loss, barring a miracle here in the 3rd period.

Couple of thoughts. First, Patrick Kane scored. Well, he did. Byfuglien has a goal and two helpers. This is PRECISELY what we talked about earlier today. But what about Toews??? He’s still underperforming. Also, when the score was 3-1, Philly had a glorious chance to make it 3-2. Instead, Chicago scores fairly quickly after that to make it 4-1. Timonen, I think it was, scored on a laser-precision wrister to the roof, with all sorts of traffic in front. Then Captain Mike Richards has a glorious deflection chance in front, that simply hits Niemi in the pads, as he slid across the crease. If that goes in, it’s 4-3. Instead, Chicago scores to make it, 5-2.

Teams that trail by three goals going into the 3rd period rarely come away smiling. Yes, JvR has made it, 5-3, but it’s still a long, uphill battle. But what did I tell ya, earlier? These Flyers don’t quit. Down, 3-0, the Thrashers would fold the tent, in a 4-0 loss. Down, 4-1, the Thrashers would just march the time off the clock. Down 5-2, the Thrashers would try to just not give up any more goals. Not Philly. They are bringin’ it!!! They don’t quit!!! It’s amazing to watch them. They are RASPUTANS, in this regard. They refuse to die. And I won’t be the slightest bit surprised to see Philly take Game Six, to force a 7th game. The Flyers are on the PP, with 8:00 left, and if they tally here, it’ll be a wild finish!!


June 6th, 2010
10:50 pm

Patrick Sharp scores for Chicago to make it, 6-3. But what did I tell you about Philly’s “never-say-die” attitude? Well, Simon Gagne has scored for the Flyers, to score the gap to 6-4. No sooner than I type that, Dustin Byfuglien scores the empty-netter. 7-4.

Just like we drew it up, right?? Philadelphia CANNOT give up 7 goals, even if one was an empty-netter, in such a pivotal game in the Finals.

World Be Free

June 6th, 2010
11:05 pm

I have never seen Pronger get flattened the way Big Buff did tonight. The big man awakens. To think the Hawks put him back on defense during the season, he’s a power forward.


June 6th, 2010
11:05 pm

This series is following the scrip of the 2003 and 2009 Finals, where through five games, the home team has prevailed each time. If the Flyers win Game Six, the very same will still be true, as the home teams in 2003 and 2006 also prevailed in the Sixth game. The difference between 2003 and 2009 was … that the Penguins won in Detroit … to capture the Cup. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, as they were then known, lost Game Seven, and failed to score on Brodeur.


June 6th, 2010
11:27 pm

Here’s your Game 5 boxscore: Couple of things stand out. At -5, was Chris Pronger, who played 28:37. The shot leader of the game was none other than Marian Hossa, who had six (6) shots. Hossa had no points and was a -3, playing 20:29.

Toews had five shots. Toews had an assist. Toews was a -1, playing 20:30. What can I say? He needs to score. I wouldn’t have thought that Chicago could win the Cup with Toews essentially being a non-factor.

With 4 shots were Simon Gagne and Mike Richards for Philly. With 4 shots for Chicago were Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien. Buffy has 2 goals and two helpers, I believe.

At +3, were Versteeg, Byfuglien, and Bolland. At -2 for Chicago, were Seabrook, Kopecky, Duncan Keith, and J. Madden. And, at -3 was Hossa, which I already mentioned. For the Flyers, Pronger was a -5. Claude Giroux was a -4. At -3, was Matt Carle.

Here’s how the Flyers blueline minutes broke down. Ready???
1. Pronger, 28:37, -5
2. Timonen, 27:03, +2
3. Coburn, 26:57, +1
4. Carle, 26:28, -3
5. Krajicek, 9:07, +2
6. O. Bartulis, 1:58, +1

And Pronger was in the penalty box when Chicago scored. Which means? Yep, Pronger was on the ice for each and every Blackhawk goal, including the empty-netter, except for the time he was incarcerated in the sin bin.

Okay, the Stanley Cup will be in the house, in Philly. Go Flyers!!