High-stick or no high-stick? You be the judge; Great Lemaire stuff

Posted on January 4th, 2009 – 1:56 PM
By Michael Russo

(updated a bit)

On Johan Franzen’s no-goal reversal last night that tied the score at 2-2 late and forced overtime, here are two screen captures emailed to me by a reader as taken from nhl.com video. You be the judge.

Screen capture 1

Screen capture 2

Incidentally, here is that Sunday column I mentioned two days ago that I wrote about the tragedy of Marian Gaborik’s injuries. Just a different take on the whole thing, but also addressing all these calls for a short-term deal between Gaborik and the Wild.

Back to the no-goal reversal. I was in contact with the NHL this morning. I talked to Jacques Lemaire this morning. The league sent the Wild the “conclusive” video of the Detroit Red Wings’ feed it used to overturn referee Brad Meier’s no-goal on Franzen, and Lemaire’s mouth dropped. He said there’s nothing conclusive on there.

I’ll have a lot more on this in tomorrow’s paper. I’d say this: I didn’t cover the game, but the telling signs — Meier’s six feet away, Franzen looked at Meier wave off the goal and didn’t argue at all and the league only used Detroit’s inferior telecast for feeds. The Wild’s feed at 12 cameras and was in hi-def. The Red Wings used six and was in standard-def.

The reversal may have cost the Wild a key point in the standings (with circumstances changed, you can’t say for sure Detroit doesn’t tie the game anyway with an extra attacker or something). That point would mean the Wild would be eighth today instead of ninth.

Two years ago, a faulty replay in Vancouver (exact circumstance where the Wild had good video and the league was taking an inferior feed) cost the Wild a Pascal Dupuis goal. Remember, the Wild lost the division by one point. If the Wild wins the division that year, it doesn’t play Anaheim, which was a terrible matchup.

In 2005, in Denver, Brett McLean scored a goal when the puck squeezed under the net. The league didn’t get a replay until after the ensuing puck was dropped. Video goal judge Gary Pedigo, asleep at the switch, slammed the door in my face during the intermission. He still works Avs games though, so maybe we’ll reminisce tonight. :)

Wild has an extremely optional skate this morning. Only like six guys, so I can’t give you the for-sure lineup. Other than one poor sap, as you’ll see a little below, is definitely press-box bound.

Marek Zidlicky will be a game-time decision today. He’ll skate warmups. Listening to Lemaire today, if Zidlicky plays, I’m not too sure John Scott doesn’t get the nod over Erik Reitz, whom Lemaire doesn’t have much confidence in. Just look at Reitz’s ice time lately even with the Wild shorthanded on the blue line (Zidlicky’s illness yesterday and Kim Johnsson not playing against Calgary).

Also, Benoit Pouliot is so much in the back of Lemaire’s doghouse, he can’t even see daylight. He got bagged alone today by assistant Mike Ramsey like few players I’ve ever seen. He could hardly breathe in the thin Colorado air. I guess if he won’t skate in games, he’ll have to skate in practices, eh?

Krys Kolanos has essentially taken his job because Lemaire says, “he shows more.” Lemaire said it’s a “maturity” issue with Pouliot, who essentially was given a free pass to be on the team this year even though he didn’t prove he warranted it in Houston.

On the lack of playing time recently of guys like Reitz, Craig Weller, Colton Gillies, Pouliot, even Stephane Veilleux last night, Lemaire was fascinating today on the subject.

“These guys, they can’t drop. They don’t realize that. If they drop, then I can’t play anybody.”

Lemaire then looked at me and said, “I’ll play you. You know why? We’re going to lose anyway.”

Russo: “Guaranteed.”

On Reitz: “He’s got to get his game a little better. He’s got to get quicker, he’s got to get some aspects of his game better. He’s trying.

“It’s more patience from me. You can’t have that patience when you have to win. It’s when you see that if you have no chance to be there, then I can have patience. Now, that patience will take one game two points from you, another two points another game, another game another two points, and these six points will ruin you.

“So where do I stop? It’s not just Reitz. It’s everybody. Pouliot, Weller, Veilleux, all the guys that didn’t play the last five, six minutes last night.”

Because you’re scoring, the margin for error is thinner than ever?

“Exactly. If you see at a time you have no chance at all, then I’ll play them to give them more confidence. They’ll make mistakes, they’ll get a goal against, doesn’t matter. When we have no choice that they have to get better. But now, we’re still in between. Until we decide where we’re going, I have to be like this.

“Like last year, we were great for awhile, we had a tough stretch of not even a month (he’s talking in February, early-March). Two-three weeks max that everything was upside down. We could have went down, but everyone picked it up and we went up. But we had to cut down on certain guys to play. Some guys played more, other guys played less because you want to win.”

So you’re saying you can’t afford to play certain guys here unless the season tanks? “Then I can play them.”

When the two beat writers laughed, Lemaire said, “And it won’t be funny.”

Talk to you before the game.

Comments are closed.