Monday, December 5, 2011

Inside a night at the NHL War Room

Alex Semin would make a decent NHL official, considering he's always asleep on the job.

In the wake of a number of questionable reviewed goal calls throughout the NHL recently, I began to wonder to myself what exactly goes in in the War Room on game nights?  My question soon became an answer, as I once again swiped Down Goes Brown and Down Goes Spezza's "Super Spies" for the day and had them find out for me.  Here's what I found.

6:57 PM - The officials all arrive at the War Room, running late of course.  Gary Bettman yells at someone for wearing a Caps hat.

6:58 PM - After ten seconds of technical difficulty, one of the officials says "screw it," turns off his assigned monitor and logs onto's box score for the Islanders-Devils game he's been assigned from his Smartphone.

6:59 PM - Most other officials do the same.  Gary Bettman opens an apparent closet door that turns out to be a massive flat-screen high-definition TV for the Penguins game.

7:00 PM - Some guys who speak French come into the room, but despite claims that they're here to work the Habs game so Montreal can get fair officiating with people who speak French, Bettman kicks them out.

7:02 PM - The guy assigned to the Vancouver Canucks game walks in, saying he had just spoken with some angry French guys.  Riots break out in the parking lot.

7:07 PM - The Penguins game gets under way after a slight delay as Sidney Crosby's phone went off following a "good luck" text from Bettman.

7:08 PM - Similarly, Gregory Campbell checks his phone and views a text from Colin Campbell.  Gregory is issued a minor penalty for delay of game.  Colin Campbell sits helpless in Brendan Shanahan's office, hand-cuffed behind his desk.

7:13 PM - After five uneventful minutes, Gary Bettman falls asleep.

7:14 PM - Bettman is startled awake by the Penguins goal horn...but wait!  The goal is under review.

7:15 PM - Bettman decides the goal looks good.  After awarding Pittsburgh of a goal, some Rangers players become upset, and they are penalized accordingly for caring.

7:39 PM - Brendan Shanahan is called into the War Room due to a questionable hit.  He immediately shows the footage to Colin Campbell.  Campbell recommends no suspension.  Shanahan thanks Campbell for the advice and begins his explaination video, deciding on a 5-game suspension.

8:05 PM - Another goal is under review on a Versus game, but the arena's referees can't get in touch with the War Room, because they have the National Anthem from the United Center on the big screen with the volume on maximum.

8:08 PM - After several tries of calling the War Room, the goal is waved off, as the league requested lower scoring games to annoy the Versus network.

8:23 PM - There's another goal under review!  This one is between the Predators and Coyotes.  The War Room officials scramble around, but can't find any video footage from the game.  They resort to the box score.  No goal.

8:25 PM - Bettman becomes bored and orders a pizza.

8:46 PM - Bettman's pizza is delivered by a guy wearing a Canadiens t-shirt.  Bettman slaps him and the man leaves.

9:07 PM - Most early games are entering the third period, so it's time to focus to make sure no calls are missed.  All officials refresh their box scores.

9:10 PM - The Montreal Police call Bettman to inform him that they are investigating his hit on the pizza delivery guy.

9:26 PM - There's a goal under review in New Jersey!  The Devils have tied the game with two seconds remaining!  Officials immediately call in a Photoshop expert to edit the image so it looks like Zach Parise has kicked the puck in.  No goal.  Devils lose.

9:34 PM - Following the conclusion of the Penguins game, officials review each Pittsburgh goal and decide since Sidney Crosby was on the ice for one of their goals, he is awarded an assist.

9:47 PM - Lou Lamoriello calls Bettman to appeal his decision of no-goal, but Bettman fines him and threatens to take draft picks from the Devils.

10:21 PM - Officials are reviewing how a puck got past Roberto Luongo, but everyone is genuinly confused.  The goal stands, though, despite not knowing how it is physically possible to allow such a goal.

11:43 PM - A tired Gary Bettman heads out for the night, bringing an angry Colin Campbell with him.

12:23 AM - All games have concluded.  Officials turn off all War Room phones to block angry complaining callers.