Justin Williams may be Mr. Game Seven but Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin might be starting to wish they’d sit him until then. Ovechkin sits tied with Sergei Federov for the all time NHL goal scoring lead by a Russian born player even though he’s scored two goals since tying the record. After Williams was dinged for a highly questionable incidental goalie interference call against the Leafs following a successful Mike Babcock coach’s challenge (see Ovechkin denied history: Today’s rules and why they’re ruining hockey), he was again the focus of a coach’s challenge in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Ovechkin fired his patent one time slap shot from the left circle and cleanly beat Flyers goaltender Steve Mason for the record setting goal, but upon further review, the play was ruled off side. What makes this questionable to me is that you can’t see the puck on Jason Chimera’s stick as he crosses the blueline. You can see it moments before and you can see it moments after, but all you can do is assume where the puck is on his stick when it crosses the blueline. Since the call on the ice was ruled a clean zone entry by the linesman, it would stand to reason that conclusive evidence is needed to overturn the call. It’s not even conclusive whether the skate of Justin Willliams was over the line before the front of Chimera’s stick, and all anyone can do is guess where the puck is at that time. Compare this to a recent disallowed Connor MacDavid goal. The puck is in the goalie’s glove and the glove is completely over the line but you can’t call it a goal because you can’t physically see the puck in the net. So how can this offside replay possibly be even close to conclusive?
Verdict: Give Ovechkin the goal already. It’s been taken wrongly from
him twice. If arguably the greatest goal scorer in the game’s history needs three or more goals to have one count under today’s rules then as I’ve said before, bigger nets is not the answer.