A Little Help on the Helper

Scoring changes in NHL games occur occasionally. The off-ice officials want to determine who scored the goals and assist(s) as soon as possible, but some goals are easier to determine than others. A player will often come forward between periods to let officials know that he touched or did not touch a puck, and occasionally a media member will note an assist or a deflection or something of that nature.

In the late stages of Tuesday’s game between the Caps and Flyers, Washington’s Brian Sutherby scored what was initially credited as an unassisted goal. Since then, Caps defenseman Steve Eminger was credited with an assist. Here’s a short outline of how that occurred.

Some time after the conclusion of Tuesday’s game, Eminger approached Caps Director of Media Relations Nate Ewell and mentioned that both Sutherby and Caps video coach Blaine Forsythe believed he should have been credited with an assist. After returning home that night, Nate sent out an e-mail to a league official stating that several people believe Eminger should have been credited with an assist on Sutherby’s goal.

Nate was able to watch the play in question himself, as his wife had TIVOd the game. He saw that Eminger blocked a shot in his own end, and moved the puck to Sutherby. The Caps’ center then skated the length of the ice and tucked the puck past beleaguered Philadelphia goaltender Robert Esche at 18:50 of the third period.

By the time Nate woke up on Thursday morning, he had an e-mail reply from a league official. The powers that be had reviewed the goal and determined that indeed, Eminger should have been credited with an assist on the play. With the issuance of this morning’s official NHL statistics, Eminger now has nine assists, and points in three straight games.

They’re not all as simple and some are more timely, but there’s a look into the machinations of one NHL scoring change.

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8 Comments on “A Little Help on the Helper”

  1. CJ Says:

    Hey Mike, great work on covering the Caps. I live in the UK and it’s great to be able to keep up through Dump and Chase, Caps Report, Pre Cap and all the notes and previews etc that you post on washingtoncaps.com. My question isn’t related to today’s update, sorry. I was just wondering if you can explain why “The Equation Line” of Clark, Ovechkin and Zubrus is so called?


  2. Jim Hershberg Says:

    Very interesting. Too bad the Caps weren’t more on the case a few years ago–I attended a game in which I was sure Zettler was credited with an assist that should have gone to Adam Oates. I checked the replay on the website afterwards to confirm my belief, and even called the Caps to urge them to correct the scoring. Unfortunately, nothing was done–and Oates ended the season *tied* for the league lead in assists. Oh well, not important in the big scheme of things, but nice to get these things right.

  3. norske Says:

    So does this mean that the Caps are now 8-0 in games in which Eminger scores a point? Clearly they need to keep getting that guy the puck.

  4. dumpnchase Says:

    CJ: Some of us took to calling the Ovie, Zubie, Clark line “The Equation Line” last year simply because their uniform numbers formed an equation (8+9+17). Since nothing better has supplanted that, I continue to dust it off from time to time.

    Jim: Can’t say that I remember that play, but I do remember the year Oates tied for the assist lead. I think he had 69 of them that year. More often than not, when a change is made, it’s due to someone on the ice noticing/notifying.

    Norske: You are correct, and yeah, couldn’t hurt to keep getting him the puck more now that he is passing it with authority again.

  5. The Freeze Says:

    Hey Mike, Sorry about being a bit off topic once again but i wanted to throw some available defensemen your way to get your thoughts of them on the Caps Blue line next season. Sheldon Souray, Roman Hamrlik, Andy Sutton, Vitaly Vishnevski (Brashear may have to apologize to him first, hahah!), Brent Sopel. A quick synopsis of your thoughts will do just fine. Thanks for the response!

  6. Jed Says:

    Hey Mike, I don’t know if you’ve ever addressed this, but why does Crosby get so much more media attention than OV? He’s only 4 assists ahead, and he doesn’t have nearly as many goals as Ovechkin. I don’t get to watch many Pens games, but I haven’t felt like Crosby is nearly as much of an all around player as Ovechkin. So, what is it? I’m not trying to take anything away from the kid, but I just feel like Ovechkin deserves just as much attention!

  7. Miriam Says:

    Quite interesting 😉

  8. Millie Says:

    Because we cant post to the travel blog, I am going to do this here. Regarding your post on the Caps’ fishing in FL and catching a hammerhead, I would refer you to this from the Florida Museum of Natural History:


    In the US, hammerhead sharks are grouped with large coastal species, a group that biologist consider to be most vulnerable to overfishing. Along with being a targeted species, this hammerhead is also taken by gillnet and longline and as bycatch in driftnet fisheries. Mortality is likely to be significant although little data is available on populations and fishing impact. Different species of hammerheads are sometimes difficult to identify in high seas fisheries where observers are often not present, resulting in insufficient bycatch data.

    Currently, this species is considered to be “Near Threatened” throughout its range with the exception of Australia where it is assessed as “Least Concern” by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The IUCN is a global union of states, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations in a partnership that assesses the conservation status of species. Off the coast of northern Australia, where the fishery is well-managed, the scalloped hammerhead is abundant.

    I am a big Caps fan but I was horrified to read that they had caught a hammerhead. I hope that it was let go but either way, they are incredibly overfished and endangered. Just FYI.

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