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About that Stars/Wild goal line conspiracy theory photo

David Berding is a freelance sports photographer based out the Twin Cities. On Sunday, he was assigned to cover the Minnesota Wild’s Game 6 against the Dallas Stars, which featured a furious comeback by the home team that fell just a few millimeters short.


Or … did it?


If you were on social media or Reddit Hockey after the game, you no doubt saw this image of the goal-line play in which Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen made the save of his playoff life, apparently keeping the puck from crossing the line completely. The NHL Situation Room validated that the puck didn’t cross the line, and the Dallas Stars went on to eliminate the Wild.

But then again … that photo.

When Berding saw what he had captured, he linked the photo in a Reddit thread about how close the shot was to crossing the line, and then tweeted out the photo himself with the message "I'm not going to say that puck was in, know." 

Suffice it to say, this became the Zapruder film for a subsection of Wild fans who believed their team had just been jobbed by the referees and the NHL itself. Its popularity was fueled when Wild players Jarret Stoll, Niederreiter and Matt Dumba all tweeted the image as well. 

For Stars fans, meanwhile … well, what professional photographer doesn’t love it when their work is called “100% Photoshopped.”

It was photo tweeted at us and emailed to us to prove the chicanery. And, at first glance, it was pretty damning.

But on second glance … not so much, as Berding explained on his blog:

I convinced myself that yeah, it's not a goal no matter how much I want it to be. Why wasn't this a goal? Parallax angle/view. I had no idea what it was actually called and didn't really think much of it, even though it pops up into my photos all the time when I set up a remote. Basically since my camera is shooting at an angle relative to the goal, things aren't always true. While the puck does appear to be in the net, since I'm at an angle and not a top down overhead, it's going to look like it's in net because it's not touching the ice and is slightly elevated.

So the photographer admits the photograph doesn’t provide evidence that it was a Wild goal. And, in fact, he feels pretty crappy to have undercut the Stars’ win with the whole viral conspiracy thing:

I had no idea this was going to take off like it did and when I made my tweet it wasn't to incite the Stars fanbase or to start an "NHL is wrong" campaign. I was just commenting at the time that yeah, I thought it was a goal and later I corrected myself yet people seem to gloss over that fact. 

So to the Dallas Stars fans that I've angered, I'm sorry for the tweet and I'm sorry that this has taken off like it has, but please believe me when I say that it wasn't my intention. I know this may seem hollow coming from someone that lives in Minnesota and still wishes the North Stars were here, but trust me, the last thing I intended to do was cause a big uproar. 

As of Monday night, Berding still had his Twitter account locked for privacy. Hopefully this explanation will let everyone stand down and move on.


Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.



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