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.