Leafs win first coaches challenge in NHL history


I guess this is why the Toronto Maple Leafs gave Mike Babcock an eight-year contract. Midway through the second period, the blue and white risked giving up their only time out to challenge a goal by Jeff Petry, claming that Jonathan Bernier had been interfered with.

A minute or so later, after much screaming from the crowd and many fingers crossed in different directions on both benches, the referees reversed their original decision and waved off the goal.

As nice as Max Pacioretty’s no-look pass from the corner was, it was a little suspicious that it found its way through a wave of players so easily, and that Jonathan Bernier didn’t move across quick enough to stop it. The Leafs decided they wanted a closer look, and sure enough, Tomas Plekanec had his stick planted firmly in Bernier’s neck region. 

Thanks to its recent introduction and the lack of video replay in the pre-season, Babcock’s challenge was the first in the history of the National Hockey League. Because it was successful, the team are free to continue challenging plays as long as they aren’t wrong. For now, the score remains 1-1, Babcock is a history maker, and the Leafs have more victories than losses for what might be the only time this season.

Screen capture courtesy of Rogers Sportsnet