There was a major controversy during the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers game on Thursday night.
On the Canadiens’ first goal of the game, Brendan Gallagher made a hand pass toward Mike Hoffman. The scoring forward just had to tap into the net.
Mike inscrit les Canadiens au tableau indicateur!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 21, 2022
To the confusion of many, the referees and the Philadelphia Flyers coaching staff deliberated for over a minute before the puck was dropped and the goal was officially announced.
After the Erik Karlsson incident in the 2019 NHL playoffs, the NHL chose to add some extra options for coaches to be able to challenge plays that would have been otherwise called off if seen by referees. Among other things, hand passes were added to the list of things coaches could challenge that led to the scoring of a goal, but the Flyers never chose to proceed.
Confirmed by the league that hand passes CAN be challenged.
— Marco D'Amico (@mndamico) April 21, 2022
The Montreal Canadiens seemed to have gotten away with one here, as it is being reported by Pierre Lebrun that the Flyers were able to challenge the play but were told they could not. The NHL referees on the ice mistakenly told head coach Mike Yeo that he could not call a challenge for a hand pass, and then called it a good goal on the ice.
I’m now told the refs told the Flyers coaching staff they could not challenge that play. Which explains why the Flyers didn’t. And that’s a mistake by the officials. https://t.co/ojq5cVe7a4
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 22, 2022
Thankfully for the NHL, this was not a very meaningful game in a playoff qualification setting. It may have had an impact on the outcome of a game that would affect Draft Lottery odds, with the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens both at the bottom of the NHL standings, but that is thankfully not too damning for the league.
It seems like the NHL will have to give their referees a crash course on what is and isn’t open to a coach’s challenge prior to the NHL Playoffs, as there can be no mistake when the games matter.