Most Blackhawks fans would agree that the referees' decision to disallow a Jonathan Toews goal in Sunday's second period was a bad call, and Hawks fans have certainly seen their share of those.
But Sunday's blunder by the refs in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the L.A. Kings has nothing on a call that cost the Blackhawks a game in overtime back in 1993, the era of high-flying scorer Jeremy Roenick, tough-as-nails defenseman Chris Chelios and fiery goaltender Ed Belfour.
Let's take a trip down memory lane back to Oct. 16, 1993, when the Winnipeg Jets improbably defeated the Hawks 1-0 in overtime. See video from the SportsChannel broadcast above, courtesy of YouTube user JHendrix70, and read the late, great Tim Sassone's game story from the following morning's edition of the Daily Herald below.
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(Originally published Oct. 17, 1993)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Somebody up there must not like the Blackhawks.
At least it seems many of the referees around the NHL do not.
For the second time in a week the Hawks had a controversial decision on a goal go against them in a 1-0 loss Saturday night at Winnipeg Arena.
On Tuesday in Dallas, it was referee Ron Hoggarth allowing a goal off Brent Gilchrist's skate while he stood in the crease to stand in a 3-3 tie.
This time it cost the Hawks a game when referee Denis Morel let count a goal by Winnipeg's Nelson Emerson 41 seconds into overtime. The play began when Emerson caught Ed Belfour's clearing attempt with his glove behind the net, brought it around front and tried to throw it in. The puck clearly sat on the goal line, where it was swept away by Brian Noonan.
Lo and behold, Morel signaled goal. The call held up after a replay review asked for by Morel proved inconclusive. Darryl Sutter exploded off the bench in rage at the ruling and sprinted across the ice to confront Morel at the penalty box, and had to be pulled away from the referee by his players.
Sutter later tried to see Morel in the referee's dressing quarters but was rebuffed by security.
"There's no way that puck gets around the net," Sutter said. "It's either in Emerson's hand or he bats it in. It's impossible. They can suspend players, but officials don't even watch replays. But it's in the books now."
Jeremy Roenick was still livid long after the frantic finish.
"Can you believe it?" Roenick said. "First, it didn't even cross the line. Second, he (Emerson) had it in his palm and tried to throw it in the net. Why didn't Morel ask the goal judge? The light never went on.
"Never in my life since I've been skating have I seen a call as bad as that. Morel shouldn't even be in the league. He should have been out of the league five years ago. Maybe the officials should go on strike so we can get some new
Steve Smith was one of the Hawks on the ice stunned by Morel's quick call.
"To tell you the truth, I was trying to figure out where the faceoff was going to be," Smith said. "I didn't think for a second he would call it a goal."
"(Morel) told me he went with his gut feeling. Those were his exact words. Since I've come here from Edmonton, I've never seen a team get so many missed calls."
Morel met briefly with a pool reporter to explain his side.
"I saw the puck about 2 inches inside the red line and that's the reason I called it a goal," Morel said. "I went to the replay and it was inconclusive, so I had to stick by my call. It's a goal. I didn't see the player direct the puck with his hand."
Beifour agreed that Emerson didn't direct the puck.
"No, he carried it like a football," said Beifour.
Morel's call spoiled a terrific effort by the Hawks and Beifour, who made 32 saves. The Hawks had 33 shots at Jets goalie Bob Essensa, who was just as sharp.
"It was certainly an unfair ending, and it was certainly a game we deserved to get something out of," Smith said.
"It's not right to lose a game like that when we worked so hard," Roenick said.
-- Tim Sassone