I asked Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol about it being a turning point.
Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer gets plowed by Panthers defenseman Marc Staal and forward Carter Verhaeghe deposits the puck into the yawning cage. Hakstol appropriately calls for a video review, it fails, and as are the rules, the Kraken are handed a delay-of-game penalty for the failed challenge. Verhaeghe scores again on the ensuing power play. 2-0 Panthers with a couple of minutes remaining in the first period.
“I don’t think that was really the turning point,” Hakstol said. “The challenge, there’s two ways to look at it and in that case I feel Phil didn’t have a chance to do his job. Their look and their ruling on it was different than my viewpoint. That’s not for me to determine. I felt like our goaltender didn’t have a chance to do his job. I didn’t really think that was the turning point, I felt the turning point was the middle period.”
Fair enough, it wasn’t the Kraken’s best night all around.
Repeatedly trying to play come-from-behind hockey is losing hockey. The magic from Thursday night’s come from behind win against the Washington Capitals wasn’t there. They’ll occasionally come in bunches, but consistent comeback wins are not something fans should get used to.
So feel free to call the 2-0 deficit the establishing point, one from which Seattle never recovered, and again, it came down to that goaltender interference video review.
The Kraken simply had to ask for a review in that situation with Grubauer unable to get back into a position to make a save. Was Grubauer in the blue paint when he got hit, partially at least, or was he roaming outside his crease? Apparently he was outside.
I also asked Panthers head coach Paul Maurice about his understanding of the review decision after the game.
“It’s also the hockey play of it,” Maurice said. “So it’s not (the crease) where a guy is going, runs into the goaltender but he’s away from the play. He’s going to make a play on the puck, misses it, goalie is outside, so it’s a hockey play, it’s how they (the officials) described that, and it’s outside the crease. So if you’re that far outside the crease, and players have the right to go get pucks … he (Staal) didn’t mean … he certainly didn’t put his full force into it, he was trying to pull off it.”
The Climate Pledge Arena crowd appropriately went bonkers after the goal wasn’t waved off. They saw their goalie get shmooshed. NHL coaches don’t know the subtleties of the decision making half the time, so how the heck are casual observers, even the hard cores among them, supposed to know what direction a call is going to go or the scope of the decision making perimeters.
Believe it or not, this one was pretty straightforward compared to some.
“You know what, we’ve had a bunch go against us this year,” Maurice added, “so it’s nice to have one go our way.”
Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, the game was over when Verhaeghe scored his second goal, the ultimate game winner at 17:36 of the first period on that power play.
The Kraken had no choice but to challenge and if a similar play occurred again, I’d fully expect a review.
That’s the grey area that is the blue crease.