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Rumblings: Coach's challenge controversy heats up after Wings-Habs game

Brendan Gallagher's goal in the second period appeared to be goalie interference against Petr Mrazek. Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports

To be fair, the NHL warned everyone that the coach's challenge would come with some kinks to iron out, and Saturday night in Montreal we certainly got an example of that.

In fact, the coach's challenge wasn’t even invoked on Brendan Gallagher's controversial tying goal when it clearly should have been.

To recap: Gallagher tied the game in the second period when the puck bounced off his skates, crossed the line, and he bowled into Wings goalie Petr Mrazek.

The call on the ice, although not clear at the time, was no goal, according to one source.

The situation room in Toronto reviewed it to make sure the puck wasn’t kicked in and entered the net in a legal fashion -- which it did.

That’s when things went wrong.

I can’t get a straight answer, but all I can assume here is that the situation room in Toronto in some form or other must have told the refs that it was a good goal. As in, the goal should stand? Again, I don’t know that for sure.

I can only ascertain that Wings head coach Jeff Blashill didn’t ask for a coach's challenge because the refs told him it was a good goal and there wasn’t any point in further reviewing it.

The Detroit Red Wings certainly should have invoked a coach's challenge based on goalie interference -- and for the life of me I can’t imagine the goal would have stood based on the threshold established for goalie interference, as Mrazek had zero chance to make a save on that play.

Certainly the Wings have been in dialogue with the league in the past few days clearing up what happened.

According to an NHL referee who requested anonymity, NHL on-ice officials received a memo in the aftermath of all this from director of officiating Stephen Walkom reminding them that when it comes to goalie interference, calls on goals or no-goals should only be overturned either by the on-ice officials huddling on the ice and changing the call or by a coach's challenge. Read between the lines: not from hockey ops in Toronto.

Again, the coach's challenge is new and everyone involved is working out the kinks, so this isn’t about placing blame but rather making sure things get worked out moving forward.

In retrospect, whatever miscommunication happened there between the situation room in Toronto, the refs and the Wings’ bench should not have happened and a coach's challenge based on goalie interference should have indeed occurred.

Either way, this example and more will be on the docket when NHL general managers meet Nov. 10 in Toronto.

Again, this is the first year of the coach's challenge, there will be bumps along the road, and this was certainly one of them.