Saturday, November 20, 2010

SCSU Win Marred By Novak Injury

SCSU's Travis Novak was injured as the 2nd period ended tonight.  Novak laid motionless on the ice apparently unconscious for an extended period before an ambulance finally arrived to take him to the hospital. Updates at the rink and in the chat room from various sources indicate that Novak "had mobility" after he was stretchered off the ice.  He was attended by a physician during the wait for the ambulance.

I did not see the event as it transpired and I have not seen any of the video replays.  Obviously the first concern is for Travis' well being.  The worry for him was palpable in the arena amongst fans and the UAA officials I talked with.  All the best wishes to Travis and his family for the best possible outcome.  The issues surrounding his well-being are paramount. The outcome and analysis of the game is seems unimportant to me.

I wanted to post this as quickly as I could and will go watch the replay of the game and hopefully hear any updates before trying to analyze what happened and write about it.  It's 10:30pm (AST) as I post this so check back at a minimum in a couple of hours and I'll try to have as much information as I can as well as some thoughts.

Secondarily, I will say I'm deeply concerned about the length of time it took for an ambulance to arrive.  This shouldn't be construed as an indictment of anyone in particular as there are a number of questions to be asked and answered in that regard.  I will endeavor to get some of those.

As a tertiary concern, I'm curious about the use of replay by the referees in calling penalties tonight.  The play on which Novak got injured was not the first time during the game where video replay was used to determine the proper penalty call.

I've gotten no additional information on Novak's injury over and above hearing reliably that he had the aforementioned "mobility".  I'm sure there'll be some update at the earliest possible time from SCSU as to his condition and I'd recommend checking their website and/or contacting them.  My thoughts are with Travis and his family for the best outcome.  It was the scariest moments I've seen at the Sullivan Arena for an injured player.

Questions remain as to the ambulance response time as well.  This is an issue I'll have to investigate further.

Now to the two 5 minute major calls.  First, the Baily hit on Garrett Roe was just dumb.  Bailey should not have hit him.  Refereeing is certainly a subjective affair but it was clear to me when I saw it live and now that I've seen the play again on the rebroadcast that Baily first wasn't moving his feet and gave Roe what I'd call a stiff shove.  Garrett Roe is a known diver but based on what I saw I'd be hard pressed to accuse him of diving on the play.  I've seen such instances called 2 minute penalties and I think in this situation a 5 minute major is the wrong call.  Shit happens I guess.  The referees used video replay to determine who made the hit.  They initially sent Nick Haddad off the ice.  After reviewing they correctly determined it was Bailey who committed the penalty.

The play on which Travis Novak was injured was what I'd characterize as a mild hit along the boards by Brad Gorham.  It was not checking from behind, it was not boarding, it was not charging, it was not an infraction in any way, shape or form; it was fully normal "run-of-play" action.  Between periods the referees again used video replay and after looking at the hit 5 or 6 times decided to call a CFB and another 10 minute misconduct.

It is awful when a player gets hurt and as I said above the concern for Novak's health was palpable in the arena as we waited an excessively and embarrassingly long time for an ambulance.  However, the fact that a player was injured does not mean a penalty must be called.  Even if you somehow could construe the play to be a penalty (and only an imaginative referee could honestly conclude so) it completely does not warrant a 5 minute major.

Now I'm not up on the latest and greatest rules regarding video replay.  I'll admit that.  But I thought video replay was used to determine whether goals were scored or not.  Here we have a case where not once but twice in a span of 5 minutes of game time where these referees referred to replay to make their calls?  I've got no real issue with using it to correctly identify Bailey instead of wrongly sending off Haddad.  Such an injustice would have been ridiculous.

But going into the break and reviewing video from what to my eye clearly looked not much different than any number of dispossessing checks and coming up with another 5 minute major?  It's nothing but wrong.  It's outside the bounds of reason and fairness in my eyes.  When GCI posts the game on it's archive site I will screen grab the sequences and post them here so everyone can make their own judgment.  As for me, right now I think it was a crap and half call.

These calls were pretty big determining factors in the outcome of the game.  I had felt very indifferent about the result prior to seeing that play as I was (and still am) primarily hopeful that Novak's injuries are minimal.  But now, I'm pretty much indignant about it.

It ingests large volumes of air quickly to see those two events have a that effect on the outcome of the game.  Two bad calls resulted in two goals for SCSU.  Quite honestly, I sat in my seat the entire third period caring little about the result.  When UAA scored it's 3rd goal to cut the margin to one.  I didn't even stand up and clap.  When they pulled Kamal with a minute and a half to go, I didn't stand and cheer for them to get the extra-attacker goal.  I frankly didn't care in the wake of the Jesse Martin injury and in my concern for Novak.  I don't regret feeling that way but I really must question the competency of Max Battimo and Justin Brown.

Hopefully, we hear of a positive outcome for Travis Novak.  My best wishes again to him for a full recovery from whatever injury he sustained. 


Neil said...

Watching the game replay, Seeing Bailey's hit - not very hard but into the boards was bad enough for the 5 minute major, sigh

Neil said...

Just saw the Hit on Novak, I was mistaken at the game, Gorham did hit him from behind and it was worse than I initially thought. Still don't know why they didn't call it a 5 minute major right away.

Jimjamesak said...

I have my views posted on my post-game interview posting.

Flame away.

Donald Dunlop said...

I disagree on the Gorham Novak hit. It was almost a "soft" hit. I couldn't see it that well but perhaps Novak's head contacted the dasher? In any case, I can't see any way that Gorham committed a penalty at all.

Neil said...

I've since seen the replay a few times in slow motion and I agree with you. The first time I saw it was at full speed and it looked worse than watching the replay. He was trying to turn and if he hadn't it would have been a shoulder to shoulder check. My bad on the first post, I should have gone with what I saw 'Live" at the game.

Mike said...

15's "hit" was more of a rub out but Novak had his head down and turned into the boards. Hoping he is OK. Refs use instant replay to call of all things another major penalty? Serious? We have better goaltending this year. Our team is improving.

Anonymous said...

Classy Donald! Thank You! bambam

Runninwiththedogs said...

Donald, I believe hits that cause injury are reviewable.

Donald Dunlop said...

Thanks. I trust you're right or you wouldn't have taken the time to say so. Would you know off-hand if it's a rule or policy; written or unwritten? I suppose I'm just curious about that and it doesn't really matter.

Video replay usage in sport is supposed to be about getting it right. It's frustrating and unjust when they get one so blatantly wrong.

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