Controversial play influential in Maple Leafs' loss to Lightning

Mike Armenti
April 4, 2024  (1:07 PM)

Jake McCabe plays a puck on a delayed penalty, but the officials don't blow the play down
Photo credit: Sportsnet

The Tampa Bay Lightning secured a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, but there was a controversial play that was missed, which played a huge roll in Victor Hedman's first period goal.

At the 10:03 mark of the first period in last night's game between the Maple Leafs and the Lightning, Hedman fired a puck past Leafs netminder Joseph Woll, scoring his 13th goal of the season to open the scoring. However, it's a goal that never should have been scored at all. Why? Because it was scored on a delayed penalty call and the Leafs had touched the puck, which should have resulted in the play being blown dead.
The the clip above, you can clearly see Jake McCabe knock down a pass, get his stick on the puck and swat it away from the front of the Leafs' goal. Normally, in 99% of situations, the referees will blow the play dead and make the official penalty call. However, in this instance, the officials were happy to allow the play to continue after the Lightning re-gained control of the puck.
Look. Officiating an NHL game is a tough job. The game is so fast and things happen very quickly and, as a result, there are going to be missed calls. What I have a problem with is the fact that these missed calls are happening way too frequently during Leafs games.
Another example of how poor the officiating has been during Leafs games came back on March 4th, in a game against the Boston Bruins. On that night, the Leafs had plays blown dead twice in the same game with a delayed opposition penalty, with the whistle coming while the Leafs had possession. The Leafs were unable to convert on either power play opportunity, but perhaps if the play was allowed to continue on the delayed call, we may have seen them convert at 6-on-5, like we've seen so many times this season. Instead, the end result was a 4-1 loss to Boston.
This is the best professional hockey league in the world. How Gary Bettman can look at his referees' body of work and view it as satisfactory is beyond me. Some of these calls are giving the NHL a black eye and it's as though Bettman either doesn't know or doesn't care.
In a league with as much parity as the NHL has, there's really no need for plays like this to occur. NHL officials are paid handsomely to do a job and with any other job in the world, if you're not doing your job, you end up being replaced. There's been an extreme lack of accountability for NHL officials in recent seasons, but it's never been more prevalent than it is right now. Shameful stuff, really.
4 AVRIL   |   463 ANSWERS
Controversial play influential in Maple Leafs' loss to Lightning

Do you think the play should have been blown down on the delayed penalty for the Maple Leafs after Jake McCabe played the puck?

Yes, that's a routine call40286.8 %
No, that didn't seem like control6113.2 %
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