The puck went in. The referees, linesmen and goal judge didn’t see it. The camera saw it. The producer wouldn’t let the NHL see it. The goal didn’t count.
Now there’s trouble.
FSN Pittsburgh producer Lowell MacDonald Jr. failed to provide NHL replay officials all video footage of a disputed Philadelphia goal in the Penguins’ 7-4 loss to the Flyers last Thursday. Specifically, he denied the NHL video that showed the puck was in. Simon Gagne lost a goal he should have, the NHL lost credibility and while the Flyers didn’t lose the game, MacDonald may lose his job.
Right now, MacDonald is suspended indefinitely. Been there, done that, pal. Get your resume ready.
It’s hard to believe MacDonald accidentally left out the one angle that showed the puck was in. Ergo, it’s hard to characterize what he did as anything but cheating.
This raises a lot of questions. Was MacDonald acting independently? Who else knew, and when did they know it? I’m assuming – hoping and praying – that only MacDonald was involved. Because what if a Penguins official knew? Or a higher-up at FSN? Things happened so fast, those possibilities seem very doubtful.
But what if?
MacDonald should be fired, not only for lack of integrity but for abject stupidity. If you withhold the video, do so permanently. Don’t show it on TV after play resumes. That’s akin to taunting. But even if MacDonald had suppressed the video permanently, did he really believe the NHL and the Penguins would never find out? What a DUMBASS.
FSN did right acting quickly; the Penguins did right backing FSN. Hockey is clean. In today’s sporting world, that’s a major accomplishment. The NHL has dodged steroids, crooked referees, gambling scandals, domestic abuse and thug life. Even the smallest ignominy can’t be tolerated.
And this was significant. What if the Flyers had lost by one in regulation? What if the Penguins used those stolen two points to get home ice against the Flyers in the playoffs? What if the Penguins used that home ice to eliminate the Flyers? I hate the Flyers more than just about anyone, but what price victory?
This can never happen again. If MacDonald’s career is ruined in pursuit of that, it’s nobody’s fault but his.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).
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