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.

More Winter Classic Coverage

"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: Apr 7, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:12 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

I think Torts will be a little lighter in the pocket, The league can't have coaches talking about the refs having meetings with NBC...It's hilarious, but it should cost him. Obviously the refs blew the interference and the Callahan calls but the penalty shot call I thought was a good one.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 5:15 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

yes play should not have been called with the loose puck, but remember, the Flyers were on a power play for a delay of game call on
McDonough when the correct call would have been interference on Van Riems, so no pity for the stoppage, also, why would Callahan
taken a dive or held the stick with an open net in front of him

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 5:10 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

yes, the ref blew the whistle when he should not have, but remember, the Flyers were on a penalty at the time when
McDonough got called for Delay of game when the call should have been Van Riems for interference, so no pity for the stoppage call

Since: Feb 3, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:28 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

What about when the ref lost the puck and blew it dead when brierre was 1 second from throwing in the tying goal? What about the missed offside call on the rangers 2nd goal? Jeez, I thought the losing team was supposed to cry about the officiating! It was a hard fought game by both teams and calls were missed on both sides. In the end I think it evened out and the rangers pulled off the comeback. Kudos fellas, but I hope we meet up in the playoffs this year. THAT will be entertaining. The Flyers just need to start playing with intensity for a full 60 minutes and they'll be in every game. The Bruins still look better than both these teams right now because they ARE doing that.

Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:25 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

It's the rangers a NEW YORK team... The always get say they have gotten more worse calls then any other team in miles is the most laughable thing I've ever heard.

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:17 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

I've been a Ranger fan all 42 years of my life. I have seen my team receive more horrendous calls(or non-calls) over those 4 decades than any other team... By miles!!! Its not sour grapes, or a lack of watching other teams play alot, Its an outright league conspiracy!!! The winter classic was another blatant example of it. I believe any true fan of the game can see it for themselves, its a damn disgrace. The McDonagh penalty in the 3rd...R U KIDDING ME!!!!!

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 1:58 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Doesn't matter, the better team won...and has won all 3 times they've met this season.

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: January 3, 2012 12:05 pm

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Mar725 Callahan was holding the stick thts why it wasn't called and it's gotta be a break away for it to be a goal but atleast get the information right. Never seen so many whiners when your team wins a game.


Mar725 is a Flyer's fan now?...Nova you better stay off the hockey boards.   

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 11:52 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.

Sorry, but your avatar is a Flyers logo.  This disqualifies you from 'objectivity' as much as you want to believe otherwise.

The Callahan call was BS.  There is absolutely no reason for him whatsoever to 'hold' a stick there or embellish. If he can keep driving to the net, he walks it in for a 4-2 lead with 40 seconds left. His arms touched the stick because he was trying to keep himself from going head first into the ice.

The better team won.  Flyers are going to be a terrific team in a few years though - love those trades they made in the offseason. Simmonds is going to be a thorn for years.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 11:33 am

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

Are you kidding? Have you ever played on ice. He was thrown off balance by the hooking as was trying to stabilize and fight through it. That's how you end up on your knees versus your feet flying out from under you.
What reason does he have to embellish in the closing minute? Cally wanted to put the nail in the coffin by getting the puck in net. And if you know his style of play and the type of caliber he is, aka workhorse, he doesn't even know how to embellish or take a dive.

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