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Cody Eakin Talks About What He Went Through Following The Major That Wasn’t

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It took nearly two full days, but finally, it was time.

Moments before heading into his final meeting with the media, Gerard Gallant spoke to Cody Eakin for the first time following the penalty that changed the series against the San Jose Sharks.

We left him alone. To be totally honest with you, I talked to him five minutes ago in the lunchroom and I said, ‘Cody’ and he said ‘Turk, I’m fine.’ -Gallant

With just over 10 minutes left in the game, Eakin was given a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking and a game misconduct, therefore ending the night for him, and eventually sinking the Golden Knights season. The NHL has since admitted the call was incorrect by informing, separately, George McPhee and The Creator via phone. They’ve pulled the referees who made the call from the playoffs, ending their seasons as well, and the process of changing the rules on how a penalty like that will be handled in the future are already underway.

He said ‘I know I didn’t do anything wrong, I’m fine.’ He said ‘I can move on and go from that.’ So, you know, you felt bad for Cody but he’s fine and he’s ready to go. And again, nobody is blaming Cody Eakin, obviously. -Gallant

And while no one is blaming Eakin, that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to live through what can only be described as one of the worst nightmares the sport of hockey has ever dolled out to an individual player.

Actually when they called me out of the box I thought, okay they reviewed it and realized it wasn’t a penalty and I was going back to the bench, but they said no you are gone.

They said get off the ice and that’s pretty much all that was said. There were no arguments or disagreements because really at the time I wasn’t quite sure what happened. I saw him on the ice but I know I didn’t cross-check him in the face or make him bleed personally. It was just accidental, so when he was on the ice bleeding I was kinda shocked I said what the heck just happened. -Eakin

That was pretty much the response of everyone on the in the arena, including the officials. What the heck just happened?

The only thing everyone knew was the San Jose Sharks Captain was laying on the ice, out cold, bleeding from the head and his only participation in the play was a face-off. He must have been seriously injured by Eakin, it’s the only thing that makes sense with this outcome, or at least that’s what the referees thought.

Everyone now knows that’s not what happened. But the referees went off script, didn’t follow the protocol laid out in the NHL Rulebook, made up a penalty they thought must have happened. It changed a series, the future of two franchises, and the night (and probably life) of Cody Eakin.

So I went right to the room where the extra guys were watching it. I watched the replay and figured out pretty quickly exactly what happened. I watched it about 20 times and then went to the locker room, sat there, and watched the rest of the game. -Eakin

What happened was a standard cross-check following a faceoff, which happens on just about every faceoff in the NHL. The result caused a player to lose his balance and incidental contact with Paul Stastny caused Joe Pavelski to fall dangerously onto the ice and hit his head. It’s not a major penalty, it’s probably not even a minor, it’s more so an unfortunate play in an intense Game 7 that is taking place on a surface made of ice, which at times can be slippery.

I’m trying to get out to my guy and he’s in my way so I try to go right through him and it wasn’t a cross-check to the face. Unfortunate circumstances that he was caught off guard and another player came and tried to get through him as well and it’s a bad fall. Everyone watched it, everyone saw what happened and it’s unfortunate what happened, I don’t want to see that happen to anyone.  -Eakin

The rest quickly became history, and there was nothing Cody Eakin could do about it but watch.

It’s tough. Things are happening so fast and you want to be out there to try and change it. -Eakin

Imagine how nervous you felt watching Game 7 as the Golden Knights went from a virtual lock to advance to the Second Round, to down a goal, to overtime, to eventually seeing their season come to an abrupt end. However you felt, it was a million times worse for #21.

I was pacing back and forth for about the rest of the time. -Eakin

And all because of a mistake made by someone else.

There’s a lot of tough moments, I don’t know if it was the toughest but it was… it was… you know it was just… it just kinda happened. It was… it was, uh, kinda surreal. -Eakin

It’s real now though and it will be forever.

The next time Cody Eakin will play a meaningful hockey game will be in five months. The next time he’ll play in the playoffs is at least 11 months away, hopefully. The next time he’ll play in a Game 7, on the road, with a 3-0 lead, all the favorites in the NHL already eliminated, and a group of teammates capable of winning the Stanley Cup… that’s probably never.

It sucks. It sucks our season’s over. It sucks for them, it sucks for Pav(elski), it sucks for us, it sucked for the league, it sucked for the city… -Eakin

But we’ll be back. -Eakin

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51 Comments

  1. James Dermott

    Bad calls happened against both teams in playoffs. everybody is human. Unless you got to a game where you can video review every play contested than you just have to roll with it,
    Sharks had a goal by Logan couture taken away by a goal tender interference call and a penalty which allowed Vegas a power play goal. The call was clearly a mistake as Fleury was clearly out of the Blue but since they called goal tender interference it was not reviewable. Changed entire game and there may have not been a game 7

    • BL

      The definition of the goal crease is more than the blue paint.

      NHL Rule 1.7 Goal Crease / Referee Crease – …The goal crease area shall include all the space outlined by the crease lines and extending vertically four feet (4′) to the level of the top of the goal frame.

      If watch the bird’s eye view, Fleury is still hanging over the “blue” even though his skates are not in the “blue.” He’s technically still in the crease.

      I think the penalty should not have been called, but most believe the goal would not have counted as contact occurred with the goalie in the crease before the puck passed Fleury.

      • Andrew aka TruDru

        There were plenty of crap calls in this series, most of them against VGK but some on Sharks too. The Reaves tripping call game 7 with Jones was laughable at best. I have seen numerous goalies make the same play and they get the penalty, not the player sliding along the ice first. Dan O’Halaran also has a history of bad calls and screwing up playoff games. This isnt the first time for him but it is probably the worst one. Me and my wife noticed it last year with his officiating and catalogged a bunch of it but he has had years of trouble with bad calls, which means he has had years to fix the damn problem and he hasnt. Bringing up the game 2 goal is pointless because there were crap calls in game 5 & 6 that probably would have also ended the series with VGK moving forward and not the Sharks, so its clear this series was more about 2 teams versus the refs, and thats sad. People can also talk about the penalty kill choking but if you look at the entire scenario (too much to lay out in a comment section) as a whole, a lot of teams would have. Yes all players are used to pressure but it can get to any player at amy time too. I have been there myself. In the end the right thing was somewhat done with the league apologizing amd the refs being pulled from the playoffs, but time cant be reversed so everyone is moving forward and prepping for next season. Remember, the 1st season everyone said we had a chip on our shoulder and the team made it to the finals, just imagine the size of the chip that will exist next season, should be fun to watch.

    • Alexia

      I really do not understand why people keep bringing up that goal in game 2 getting called off. Like who cares? Both calls were garbage? Also, you still can’t make contact with a goalie if they’re out of their crease. You still have to attempt to avoid contact. But anyways, that should not be an excuse for penalizing a guy for something that shouldn’t have been penalized for. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Stop with the whole “Vegas shouldn’t have allowed 4 goals.” The PK was horrible but what do you expect from a team who just watched a teammate get wrongfully ejected, a team who had a game go to overtime just two days prior, a team who only had a day between games and traveling. They were tired. That garbage call was in their heads. If I’m not mistaken Eakin is also one of their regular penalty killers too. That penalty changed the entire outcome of the game. The league knows it. That’s why those refs are gone. That’s why they issued the apology. That’s why they are pushing for a rule change. I’m tired of the Sharks fans turning a blind eye because it benefitted their team. You should never excuse poor officiating. If you do you don’t care about hockey because it’s ruining the sport.

      • Arlyne

        As a season ticket holder We have been watching the inconsistency of the refs. We still hurt from this. It was hard to see that poor guy bleeding on the ice. Everyone felt it however that’s hockey. We have to live with the consequences unfortunately, but we have next year. Go Knights. BELIEVE

        • Zeke

          The golden showers blow. It was a good call. Cody cheap shitted pavelski.

    • Ian Cady

      Mr. Dermott,

      it may be a good idea to think about what you are saying before you post.
      it looks like you don’t really know what you are talking about. I have watched the replay about the goaltender interference many times. Fleury’s body was in contact with the blue crease until he was spun out of control when Logan Coutre’s elbow impacted his head. you need to do your homework before making stuff up.

      Game 7’s major penalty is not just a “bad call.” it was referees making up a call that they did not see!! They told Gerard Gallant that Cody Eakin cross-checked Pavelski in the face/head, when replay clearly show that the referees were wrong!

      If they actually saw Cody Eakin cross-checked Pavelski in the face or head, why did they not call penalty when it happened and waited for a few minutes to discuss among themselves about what to make up. No penalties were called until the referees saw Pavelski lying on the ice, then, they decided to make up a penalty fearing that they may look bad because they missed something.

      It is understandable that you may be a Shark fan, but it is not impressive for you to pretend you know what you are talking about.

      • JC

        Ian Cady, not sure what replay you’re looking at, but watch the overhead. Both skates are fully outside the blue before Couture makes contact. Second, in order for it to be a penalty, the contact has to be deliberate. Incidental contact would disallow the goal but shouldn’t be 2 minutes, so either way you slice it, it’s a bad call.

        Also, I keep seeing the complaint that the referees never put their arms up to call a penalty. That’s true, but it’s only half of the possible equation. Linesman can call major penalties at a stoppage in play, meaning if the back linesman tells the referees “He crosschecked him in the face”, it’s not a matter of the referees making something up to fit. It doesn’t make it the right call, but the referees not calling it isn’t a big deal.

        And, lastly, stop with the “few minutes” BS. They decide the penalty within 10 seconds of the stoppage in play. Watch the replay. Meier goes over to confront somebody (I think it may have been Stasny). All 4 refs converge at the faceoff circle and break those to players up. They talk for no more than 5 seconds before one ref skates to the scoring table and one ref skates over to get Eakin. They were quick and decisive (wrong, but quick and decisive).

        It’s understandable that you may be a Knights fan, but it is not impressive for you to pretend you know what you are talking about.

        • Hockeygoddess

          Excuse me ,but theres plenty of NHL officials ,retired and the NHL that has said what they did and how they did it was wrong ,Aso interference doesnt always mean inside the blue paint .it was interference .however not sure about the penalty. I have plenty of links and references you can argue your point with but you are wrong .I’m sorry you dont know very much about hockey

        • BL

          Doesn’t matter where his skates are. His butt is still in the crease.

          The crease is a 3d volume in front of the net, not just the painted 2d area on the ice.

        • BL

          A linesman must stop the play if a high stick causes injury or a player sustains a major injury not seen by the refs. The play was not stopped immediately, which it would have been if the linesman saw it.

          Rules 32.4(xii) and 32.5(ii)

      • Hockeygoddess

        “If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper.”

         

      • peter petersen

        If you watch the reply again…watch paul s slam pavs head to the ice into unconsciousness, its very subtle but Paul pushes Joe’s head to the ice with significant force, he was probably just trying to get him out of way to face the shooter, but it was a dangerous play and he may have brain damage…it was the right call on the wrong guy…if paul does not touch joe and just let him fall to the ice on his own, joe is not out cold bleeding…no penality would of been called and the knights probably skate away with the series. Paul at least should of gotten 4 min…cody 2 for cross check. But people make mistakes and wrong calls are made all the time. I see it everyday with every team even with instant reply. The refs still get it wrong.

    • Mark D. Taylor

      What is perposterous here is your comparing a controversial call in Fluery’s interference call and a 5 minute major that would have never been called but for blood on the ice. Comparing those 2 calls is like comparing a toothpick and a lumber yard. As long as your comparing calls, what do you say about a deliberate head shot to Nosek, that could of broken his neck, by Thorton, deliberate, he gets a 2 minute minor and Eakin gets thrown out, a 5 minute major for practically holding hands, wtf. Where, I ask, where is your decency for God’s sake, have you know decency !!

  2. James Dermott

    Bad calls happened against both teams in playoffs. everybody is human. Unless you go to a game where you can video review every play contested than you just have to roll with it,
    Sharks had a goal by Logan couture taken away by a goal tender interference call and a penalty which allowed Vegas a power play goal. The call was clearly a mistake as Fleury was clearly out of the Blue but since they called goal tender interference it was not reviewable. Changed entire game and there may have not been a game 7

    • Slr82

      I think if you recall that was challenged by San Jose, but was upheld by the officials, it was goalie interference but shouldn’t have been penalty that ultimately allowed the Knight to score on the Power play. Also that didn’t change the course of that game, the Knights were already up 2-0 at that point.
      These are 2 totally different Senarios.

      • BL

        It could not be challenged, because the call was a GI penalty, and the goal occurred after intent to blow the whistle on the penalty.

        • Mark D. Taylor

          It was reviewed is my understanding.

        • Mark D. Taylor

          It was challenged, correct?

          • Chris

            Incorrect. The rules did not allow for a challenge on that play. Bad call that changed the outcome of game 2 in Vegas’ favor. Refs weren’t perfect but they still make less mistakes than the players. Regardless of 1 “bad” call that should have been a 2 instead of 5 minute penalty, Vegas didn’t deserve to win after losing 3 games in a row and the game before after giving up a shorthanded game winner. The Sharks were the better team, albeit slightly, and had more scoring chances throughout the series. The series went 7 games largely because Jones played poorly in 3 games and Vlasic was missing for all 3 of Vegas’ wins. Vegas still has a very good team and we’ll be a contender for a number of years thanks to a smart GM and parity in the league, but to say 1 call changed the series is laughable.

          • BL

            Not challengeable, but the goal still would not have counted for non-penalty GI.

            The big point is this is a play the ref specifically saw and thought warranted a penalty, not guess afterwards when not seeing it.

  3. Mark D. Taylor

    Just awful, just a nightmare. I’m stunned about this call. A high school ref wouldn’t of done this. It was based on emotion, incidental contact happens all the time, wtf. The refs didn’t even see the cross check, they called the fall, the blood on the ice. A team was abused, a loyal fan base was abused, a part of the country that grows this great sport was abused, it’s unfathomable, unimaginable what occurred. How dare these hacks whine about the Fluery interference call, that call was reviewed and upheld, something we never got. A huge difference their, remember that, ok?

  4. Lori H

    The fact remains…VGK still allowed 4 goals after that. Anyone that watched the series knew SJS power play wasn’t stellar. But VGK can continue to blame the refs unnecessarily. The fact is…VGK haven’t had a lot of calls go against them so this was “astounding” considering they had the run of the ice for the entire game. Guess they now get to learn that teams will get calls you don’t agree with, or that are bad…but you have to embrace the suck and play the game out because that’s how it goes. It’s a crap lesson but every team goes through it and has been “screwed” as they call it, at some point. Welcome to the NHL. Figure out how to bounce back and NOT allow 4 goals, going forward.

    • Alexia

      Just because Vegas let in 4 goals does not excuse the poor officiating. That garbage call changed the entire outcome of the game/series. That’s inexcusable. That’s why those refs are no longer officiating in the playoffs. That’s why they are pushing for a rule change. If you’re turning away from the fact that penalty shouldn’t have been called all because Vegas let in 4 goals there’s an issue. What if your team was in that position? Drained from a OT game a few nights prior, drained from traveling, now suddenly watching your teammate get told to leave the ice for something he didn’t even do? After watching a guy bleeding from his head, questioning what is happening? You can’t even imagine the thoughts going through that teams head. Until you play in a position like that you truly have no room to talk.

    • MAB

      The refs that made that pretend call are gone from the playoffs. The NHL apologizes to VGK for a call that should of never happened. Thank the refs the Sharks advance. They beat VGK, not SJ. End of story.

    • Hockeygoddess

      Wow have you taken crazy pills ?
      You may want to thank media ,fans,the nhl,video replay for the NHL eliminating those officials from the playoffs you’re now in .And the fact that because of that atrocity they are going to change things .ass kissing is ok if you cant say thank you !

  5. Karen

    We have the technology now to look at stuff like that …. it’s bullshit!!! Cody did nothing wrong or anything wrong….and. the those f*cking sharks poke someone in the throat intentionally and nothing? They made sure Vegas was not going on. F the refs for that game. Shame on the NFL. You lost a fan.

    • Brandon Hatter

      A 5 minute power play didn’t make the knights give up a 2 game lead and a 3 goal lead in the 3rd period of game 7. Work on your penalty kill. Suck it up. Come back next year….it’s the NHL playoffs. Bad calls are made every year.

      • Clayton D

        The 5 minute power play isn’t what made the Knights give up a 3 goal lead in the 3rd period? Of course it did.

        Bad calls are made every year. When’s the last time the league issued an apology for one?

      • Hockeygoddess

        29 kills out of 33 prior to you continual officiating gift
        Hope for your sake Karlsson isnt on the ice for all your future goals against

    • Mark D. Taylor

      Agree !!!!

  6. James Dermott

    That’s Hockey sometimes in your favor sometimes not. That is my point there will always be questionable calls as long as humans are referees and video reviews can only be used for certain calls. Maybe all calls should be reviewable and if the call is not overturned than it is a penalty to the team who asked for a review and lose there timeout.

  7. Nancy

    Some of you are beyond comprehension!!! You think that a call where the opposing team is up 2-0 for GI which was reviewed and upheld is the same thing as someone getting a major and thrown out of the game on a WRONG call causing that team to go on a 5 min penalty kill when the person who got thrown out of the game again INCORRECTLY is a huge part of the PK TEAM in turn causing the momentum to shift for both sides is the same? Do any of guys who feel this way have any integrity? Or are you so filled with jealousy that you can’t admit when you’re wrong? Yes bad calls are made and sometimes things get missed for EVERY team including VGK , and yes mistakes during the plays happened during the series but you would have to be blind to not know that VEGAS was going to win that game!

    • JC

      If you’re going to insult the people who bring up the GI penalty, at least have the decency to have your facts straight. Vegas wasn’t up 2-0, and the call was not reviewed. Just like the penalty against Eakin wasn’t reviewable, the goaltender interference was not reviewable.

      The goal by Couture would have put the Sharks up 4-3 in that game. Instead, the goal was waved off, power play Vegas, Mark Stone scores the game winning goal.

      It’s not quite the shift of momentum that happened in game 7, but it absolutely changes the trajectory of game 2. THAT is why people keep bringing it up.

      • Lisa

        It’s my understanding that there had been so much confusion around goal tender interference that all calls are reviewed by Toronto. So the call is on Toronto not the refs

        • BL

          Intent to blow the whistle for the GI penalty before the goal makes the play unreviewable by law.

          But again, it’s still non-penalty GI. Most objective commentators I read believed should have stayed tied with no penalty.

  8. JC

    Goaltender Interference penalties are not reviewable. Goals disallowed for Goaltender Interference with no penalty are. That play wasn’t reviewed because the officials called it a penalty.

  9. Mike G

    Fact: It was one of the worst calls in playoff history considering the magnitude and point in the game.
    Fact: It absolutely changed the outcome of the game and the series
    Truth: VGK fans, and I am the biggest there is, need to GET OVER IT!! What if the roles had been reversed? Maybe it’s Marchy laying unconscious and bleeding on the ice. We rally around him and do the nearly impossible task of scoring 4 goals in 5 minutes. Would we be making apologies to anybody today?
    The bottom line is VGK has had the most magical 2 yrs of any expansion franchise in history. Stanley Cup final, 2 straight playoffs, landing the biggest fish at trade deadline.. do we honestly think teams that have suffered through years of heartache, bad breaks and missed opportunities are going to feel bad for us? I’ve read something several times on other message boards and it goes like this: So you got screwed in the playoffs? Congratulations Vegas you are now officially an NHL franchise.
    George McPhee said it best when he said we aren’t throwing any pity parties. We’re built for the long run.
    I’m enjoying watching some playoff hockey stress free for a change. You should too. And pray for October to get here soon!!

    • Hockeygoddess

      If it was reversed I honestly would not feel good about that win .I’d ask for a do over .but that’s me .I believe in good karma
      Having said that I believe it’s the sharks that keep talking smack to vgk while they are now playing a new team .it must be guilt setting in ?
      Otherwise just admit you got a gift and move on .since you didnt ask for a do over

  10. Sheri

    I’m not even going to go over this horrendous call that wrongfully punished Cody Eakin for nothing. I want to tell the world that after watching many seasons of Cody Eakin with the Dallas Stars, I know in my heart what a professional, sincere, skilled, humble guy he really is. I hope a few months time will heal the ugliness of this incident, and Cody can get back to business. He has flourished in Vegas, and I know his best is yet to come. Best wishes to Cody Eakin. I know he will emerge from this stronger than ever!

    • BL

      Thank you for a great response.

      And I hope that that is not the last game as a Knight for Eakin. He’s 100% humble effort and want to see him back.

  11. Thatguy

    4 goals. 4 minutes.

  12. Kon Doharski

    the Knights were totally cheated out of the playoffs, and for the jerk Snark fans on here pretending otherwise, the proof is in the fact that the 2 refs were REMOVED from working the rest of the playoffs, and the league APOLOGIZED to McPhee for the total shaft job done by the striped shirts.

    and this was not the first time. remember last year’s playoffs when Marchessault scored in OT to beat the Snarks, only to have the league overturn it on the headphones, and then call a cheap penalty to hand the game to the Snarks.
    Had the call on Eakin been a 2 minute call, the VGK would be playing Colorado now.

  13. Raiden

    First off, let me start off saying that, yes… I’m a Sharks fan. But, I’m also a Raiders fan. Which means, if there’s anybody that knows what it feels like to have a terrible call go against your team, it’s me. In my opinion (and that’s all these are, opinions people. Questioning people’s integrity because they disagree with how you see things is laughable) commenter Peter Peterson had it right. The refs called the wrong guy for the wrong penalty. Not to say Eakin didn’t commit a penalty, but the dangerous play didn’t come from Eakin, it came from Paul. Now, if you look at the replay….objectively…Eakin crosschecks Pavelski. That should have been a 2 minute minor. Not much to argue there. What Paul does is different. While Pavelski is in the air….BOTH feet in the air, totally helpless….he slams him down head first into the ice. The replay even shows him follow through with his left hand as Pavelski begins to posture (a HUGE sign of a potential traumatic brain injury). That should have at least been a double minor (anyone want to argue that Pavelski wasn’t bleeding, warranting the double minor?), giving the Sharks a two man advantage for two minutes and another two minutes of 5 on 4 following that. Anybody watching that game and how the Sharks rallied behind their fallen captain should be able to see that the result would have been similar. Quick 5 on 3 goal. Quick 5 on 4 goal and another 5 on 4 goal. The main difference being it’s a tie game. But then, the Knights wouldn’t have pulled their goalie and it would have gone to OT anyway. Of course, these are hypotheticals and opinions. The refs handled it wrong, true. But, if they’d have truly gotten it right, the result would have been the same…overtime. Sharks win. If they’d have simply called a minor crosschecking penalty on Eakin, the NHL should/would have been calling the Sharks to apologize.

  14. Vgk4life

    Not Codys fault in the least. Two games in a row Shea Theodore was in the twilight zone completely clueless and couldn’t be bothered to help out defensively. That was more detrimental that the BS Mickey mouse call made by the officials.

  15. Truth is the NHL has help the knights from the the get go! Changed the expantion rules so vegas got to choose players from “all” the other teams. Those teams were made to expose some of their quality talents that vegas could just choose like a buffet! They didn”t have to do the work of building a team from draft picks, or create a farm system to suppy them. This is so typical of today’s mentality a large portion of our country is infested with. They want instant success. We want the cup now! The cup has to be earned! Vegas. YOU DON’T DESERVE IT!

    • Andrew aka TruDru

      I dont know if you are just trolling for some reason or you’re actually trying to be serious with this comment. Lol Probably the most salt filled ignorant comment I have seen in awhile. Run with it though, it will get you far lol

  16. Last Word

    yeah, these jealous clowns from perennial loser teams are a joke. William Karlsson was a 4th line player in Columbus, and Nate Schmidt was the 7th dman in Wash. this phony crap meme that Vegas was handed top players is pure horse manure.

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