Fun Fact: The NHL Has An ‘Intent To Blow’ Rule, Which Is Amusing And Awesome (But Not For The SJ Sharks)

  • Rick Chandler

Forgive me if I have any of the details wrong, because I’m no expert on frozen water-based sports. But it appears that the San Jose Sharks got royally screwed on Tuesday night, losing a game to the Buffalo Sabres even though this happened in overtime:

That’s in the goal, right? Shouldn’t the referee have blown his whistle, or the goal light thingy start flashing or something? Game over? Instead, hardly anyone noticed this until it was too late, and the game went to shootout, where the Sabres prevailed 5-4.

Here’s a better explanation of what went down:

With 3:03 left in the overtime period, a Tyler Kennedy shot rang off the inside of the far post and slid under Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller’s hand without him noticing. Play continued while Miller glanced around for the puck, and when Wingels noticed it, he pushed it into the net (photo credit: @aj_strong). It was kicked out quickly — quickly enough to beat the referee to his whistle, which he hadn’t even put in his mouth by the time the puck had slid past the goal line and back out again.

Had the referee been holding the whistle in his mouth when the puck slid in (or perhaps even if he was bringing the whistle to his mouth), this wouldn’t have been an issue, thanks to the “intent to blow” rule:

78.5 (xii) Disallowed Goals – When the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.

Let’s all just pause for a moment to admire the fact that the “Intent to blow” rule is an official thing that actually exists.

Drew Remenda pointed out the missed goal during the next stoppage and replayed the video with sound of the whistle, blowing well after the puck had crossed the line. According to NHL rules, had the video judge become aware of the goal, there would still have been a chance for the Sharks to be awarded the goal and the game to end:

When a team scores an apparent goal that is not seen by the on-ice officials and play continues, the play shall be reviewed by the Video Goal Judge at the next stoppage of play. If the goal is confirmed by video review, the clock (including penalty time clocks, if applicable) is re-set to the time the goal was scored. If the goal is not confirmed by video review, no adjustment is required to the clock time.

So I’m not totally clear on this: are they saying that the referee saw the goal, but that he has to whistle it good before it’s cleared out of the mouth of the net? And that he could have gone to replay but didn’t? It appears to me that no one saw it, save for AJ Strong.

And now, the Buffalo bobsled team. Cool runnings …