American coach John Tortorella thinks the IIHF did the right thing when it suspended the video judge who mistakenly allowed a goal that never went in.
The play happened on Sunday night when Finland’s Ville Koistinen was credited for a third-period goal that the U.S. said went through the side of the net. It was reviewed by a judge in the Metro Centre and ruled a goal, even though replays supported the Americans’ claim.
Finland went on to rally and beat the Americans 3-2. The IIHF acknowledged the mistake after the game and said the judge was out for the remainder of the tournament.
“Something like that shouldn’t happen,” Tortorella said Monday. “The person that is responsible should be out.”
The American coach doesn’t think his team deserved to win the game but felt bad for the players who had to see it decided like that.
The guy who was in net for the phantom goal didn’t seem too upset a day later.
“That’s a big goal to mess up on,” said Robert Esche. “If it’s a mistake, it’s a mistake. We make a lot of them as players.”
The IIHF has a team of goal judges that it uses at big events like this one. They each have access to four or five different angles of each goal, plus anything the TV broadcasters shoot.
IIHF President Rene Fasel declined comment.
BIG DOUGH: Robert Esche is in no rush to get back to the NHL.
The 30-year-old goaltender spent the year with AK Bars Kazan in the Russian Super League and has already come to a verbal agreement on a new two-year contract to play for St. Petersburg in the new league that will start in that country next season.
It’s no mystery why – money.
Esche says his verbal deal is worth US$1.8 million per year and includes incentives that could push it beyond that. The team will also pay most of his taxes.
“I’m just hoping they send the paperwork over,” said Esche.
The St. Petersburg team is owned by billionaire oil tycoon Alex Medvedev, who is the brains behind the new league. Medvedev will play in an alumni game in Quebec City on Thursday.
Esche had a good season in Kazan, where he put up a 15-2-2 record with four shutouts in the regular season.
He appeared in 186 career NHL games for Phoenix and Philadelphia before moving to Russia.
ILYA THE GOON: Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk is known for scoring goals, but his tussle with Swedish defenceman Anton Stralman at the IIHF world hockey championship this week was not his first on-ice altercation.
Hockeyfights.com lists three fights in Kovalchuk’s NHL career – all judged by viewers as wins.
He scored a knockdown win over Buffalo’s Drew Stafford this season and got the edge on Sean Avery of the New York Rangers in 2007. He also got a decision against Mike Comrie in 2003. Not bad for a player who scored 52 goals this season.
Asked in jest if he would drop the gloves again at the worlds, Kovalchuk said with a smile: “We’ll see. Maybe after the final, after the last whistle.”
The bout with Stralman was more of a wrestling match, but Kovalchuk ended up on top. Kovalchuk was grabbed by Stralman as he rushed in after teammate Alexei Morozov was levelled by a hit from Sweden’s Douglas Murray. All three players were ejected from the 3-2 Russian win.
HALL OF FAME: The IIHF will induct seven new members to its Hall of Fame on Thursday at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, including the first three women players – Canada’s Geraldine Heaney and Angela James and American Cammi Granato.
Also going in are Mario Lemieux, Russian great Igor Larionov and Philippe Bozon of France, as well as American builder Art Berglund. Lemieux is unlikely to attend with his Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Eastern Conference final.