Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes the five-minute major penalty that changed the course of Game 7 between the Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights was a bad call, and it turns out the league agrees.
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee told reporters Thursday that the NHL called and apologized to him for the call on Cody Eakin during the third period of Tuesday's decisive game.
"The league did reach out and apologize," McPhee said, via The Las Vegas Review-Journal. "They made a mistake, and I'm sure [the officials] feel bad about it. They want to get things right like we all do when we're doing our jobs."
The five-minute major for a dangerous hit on Joe Pavelski opened the floodgates for the Sharks. Down 3-0 when Eakin went to the box, San Jose scored four goals on the ensuing power play to take a one-goal lead. The Sharks eventually won in overtime on Barclay Goodrow's series-clinching goal.
After the game, Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault ripped the refs for their "embarrassing call," saying they helped the Sharks "steal" Game 7.
Up until that point in the series, the Sharks were 4 for 29 on the power play, but Vegas' penalty-killing unit couldn't stop Team Teal from erasing a three-goal deficit in a four-minute span. Vegas can complain all it wants, but eventually, the Golden Knights have to look in the mirror.
That being said, giving up four goals in four minutes is a tough pill to swallow, but having the league admit it blew the call is just pouring salt in the wound.
There's also this: The NHL Department of Hockey Operations announced that referees Dan O'Halloran and Eric Furlatt, who were on the ice for the call, will not officiate in the second playoff round, per ESPN. O'Hallaron leads all active NFL refs with 212 playoff games worked, ESPN noted.
The Sharks now will face the Colorado Avalanche, with Game 1 slated for Friday night at SAP Center.