Monday, November 06, 2006

On McGeough

I never really got around to addressing the botched call by Mick McGeough and the resulting $10,000 fine for Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, but given that Andy Grabby over at the Battle of Alberta is doing a nice job of keeping the discussion going three days after the fact, here's my take...

The thing is, it's alright if the league wants to say McGeough made a mistake, he admits it and we all say that it's time to move on. But, if that's the case — and we're going to allow him to say that — then you have to treat it like a mistake during the game, reset the clock, put the faceoff where it was and give the Oilers every chance to have a legitimate shot to tie the game.

I can't think of a single reason not to do that — and it just reeks of a bush-league tactics to say "I made a mistake" but not acknowledge that tangibly with what happens on the ice. Either you make a mistake or you don't, and if you do, it's rectified in the best manner possible.

That didn't happen, and because of that, I'm glad to see the discussion of the call continue (something that has certainly happened given Prime Time Sports devoted the better part of an hour tonight to the issue, Eric Duhatschek brought it up this afternoon at Globe on Hockey, and Mr. Grabby was interviewed by the Edmonton Journal for a story in tomorrow's paper).


At 7:52 p.m., November 06, 2006, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Yurtle! You and that nickname!

At 10:13 p.m., November 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you serious with that?

If you allowed the mea culpa to create a do-over situation, that would set a horrible precedent. We could go back and ask for blown offside calls to be reversed and timekeeping errors to be corrected, and we'd spend more time correcting errors and doing "do-overs" than we would playing the actual games.

It was a horrible mistake that cost the Oilers at least one point, and McGeough should be penalized by the NHL. But a do-over? C'mon.

At 12:18 a.m., November 07, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

It's interesting that they mentioned that baseball umpires hate having their mistakes shown on replay. Major League Baseball is the only top level sports league where MacTavish wouldn't be fined for his comments; MLB does not police what team officials say about the umpires. You can criticize them all you want. It also allows the umpires to talk to the press and defend their actions.

Contrary to what all of the other leagues say, it doesn't seem to have led to any huge loss of the umps' ability to do their job. There is a crisis of confidence over the umpires' ability to call balls and strikes, but that's because they are being asked to do a job that human eyesight simply isn't capable of, and we now have the technology to demonstrate that.

At 2:50 a.m., November 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't it be Grabby Andy?

At 10:21 a.m., November 07, 2006, Blogger ninja said...

This ain't the playground. Yeah, it sucks, but nobody gets a do-over.

Maybe MacT should've thrown a red hankie on the ice to challenge the call.

And other leagues have admitted ref errors, but nobody even mentions a do-over.

I'm with d-lee on this, because surely you can't be serious.

At 1:22 p.m., November 07, 2006, Anonymous Epinonymous said...

"I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley!"

At 11:00 a.m., November 08, 2006, Anonymous Rod said...

Seems to me d-lee and ninja are worried about a Pandora's box that is no more real than the phantom glove pass.

Generally, the point is getting the call right. In several other sports, officials discuss a call to get it right. MLB. Football at pretty much any level. It does happen. There's no reason they couldn't have a quick conference, conclude he blew it, and reset the draw on the same spot. Moving the face-off outside the zone because of winning the draw with glove pass that never happened? That's not even close to doing everything possible to get the call right.

Terrible precedent? C'mon. Resetting a draw doesn't open the door for all sorts of resets. It's a face-off. Not a 2 on 1. Not a goal-mouth scramble. In other game situations it's difficult to reset everything, but resetting a draw is very easy. Same for the clock. Happens quite frequently in fact (ref decides face-off wasn't done fairly, blows it down, clock reset, face-off in the same spot).

A do-over? Total mischaracterization. It's only a do-over if the player(s) messed up and then get a second chance.

Doesn't happen in other sports? Well, an example from baseball would be a disputed foul ball/homerun. Play is originally called a home run. After discussion, the umps change it to a foul ball. Batter back to the plate...

Worried about every offside whistle turning into a conference? Give me a break. The linesman alone is the one in position to make an offside call. Magoo wasn't even close to being the best position to make the call. Big difference.

As for timekeeping errors, they *are* pretty much any timed sport.

No kidding this isn't the playground. That missed point (or two) could turn out to be the difference in getting home-ice advantage in the play-offs (or even qualifying). That's millions of dollars potentially on the line. The playground seldom (i.e. never) has the same implications over getting the call right.

The other officials certainly noticed this one, which should have allowed them to get the call right. Period. Afterall, officials aren't supposed to have a bearing on the game. For premature whistles on a late game face-off, the remedy is quite simple. Reset the draw. There's no reason it would impact other game situations. Just get it right.

At 4:12 p.m., November 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry. My initial comment was based on a misunderstanding. I thought that James was saying we should correct the error now. I mean, McGeough didn't admit that he messed it up until the game was well over. That's what I meant by the "do-over" thing.

If they can correct the mistake on the spot, I'm all for it, but the way I read the initial post made me think he was asking for a game re-set 24 hours later. That, I am not for.

At 5:06 p.m., November 08, 2006, Blogger ninja said...

Yeah, I'm against officials conferencing on a call, because initial impressions and snap judgements are always right.

Gimme a break.


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