Penguins Notebook: Replay snafu by FSN results in suspension

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CALGARY, Alberta -- One FSN Pittsburgh employee has been suspended, and that cable-television outlet and the Penguins offered reaction yesterday after a breakdown in the NHL review process apparently cost Philadelphia a goal last week.

A review of a play to determine whether the Flyers' Simon Gagne scored short-handed in the second period of a 7-4 victory Thursday against the Penguins at Mellon Arena turned up inconclusive evidence of a goal, and so the initial no-goal call by on-ice officials stood. But FSN Pittsburgh had a replay that showed the puck crossing the goal line as goaltender Brent Johnson smothered it. That replay was not available to review staff in Toronto and was not aired until after the review was concluded.

Once a review is concluded and play resumes, NHL rules do not allow for a reversal of a call. If the goal had counted, it would have given the Flyers a 6-3 lead at 17:07 of the second period.

FSN Pittsburgh indefinitely suspended an off-air member of its telecast staff, Lowell MacDonald Jr., son of former Penguins player Lowell MacDonald.

In a statement, FSN Pittsburgh, the local broadcast rights-holder for the Penguins, said: "There is nothing more important than the integrity of the game. During last Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a definitive replay of a Flyers goal was not aired prior to the conclusion of the official review and, as a result, a Flyers goal was not awarded. Fortunately, this did not change the outcome of the game. Nonetheless, FSN Pittsburgh's failure to provide video to the league officials in a timely fashion was wholly unacceptable. FSN Pittsburgh has addressed this matter and has taken steps to ensure that such a failure does not occur again."

The Penguins followed with a statement: "We fully support FSN Pittsburgh in its reaction to this issue. The integrity of the game is paramount."

Crosby holds court

The Penguins, who flew to Calgary Monday night after their 4-3 loss at Minnesota, canceled their scheduled practice yesterday. They will be back on the ice this morning in advance of their game tonight against the Flames.

That doesn't mean they all had the day off.

Team captain Sidney Crosby, an icon in Canada, held a news conference at a hotel -- just as he did in Edmonton in December 2007 when he arrived for his first swing through western Canada as an NHL player. This is his second trip to Calgary with the Penguins.

Crosby didn't break new ground in his lengthy question-and-answer session. He talked about shooting the puck more, about how frustrating it is that the team's power play is struggling, about playing for Canada in the upcoming Olympics.

Asked how the extra attention on him when he makes such visits affects what he does in his free time, he said, "I pretty much stay in my room. No shopping or anything like that. I stay in the cave and hang out there."

The swarms of fans and media surrounding Crosby are likely to get thicker as the Penguins travel from Calgary to Edmonton for a game tomorrow and to Vancouver for a Saturday game. Vancouver is the site of the Olympics.

Last-minute travel

When it was determined after the Penguins' morning skate Monday that backup goaltender Johnson should be pulled out of the lineup because of an unspecified minor injury, John Curry was pulled out of a practice with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and steered to a flight to the Twin Cities, where he served as backup to Marc-Andre Fleury in a 4-3 Penguins loss.

Curry arrived at Xcel Energy Center 45 minutes before the pregame warm-up -- and he said that was only because his flight arrived early. Curry, a native of Shorewood, Minn., was able to contact his parents and get them to the game.

NBC game Jan. 24

The Penguins' game Jan. 24 at Philadelphia has been picked up by NBC. It will start at 12:38 p.m.

Shelly Anderson can be reached at . First Published January 13, 2010 5:00 AM


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