Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien isn’t the first coach to publicly criticize the technology used for the offside coach’s challenge. After Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmons scored a tying marker midway through the third period, Julien asked for review on the grounds that a Philadelphia player was offside prior to the goal. The play was reviewed at ice level, as always, on an 8″ tablet screen.
Some coaches have professed a displeasure with the method of review based on the uncertainty of certain views and the inability to determine skate height in a lot of cases. A player often appears to have a foot on the line to stay offside, but if that foot is elevated, it’s no longer considered on the line, making it offside. In this case, Del Zotto’s skate is probably in the air, but it’s impossible to tell enough to overturn based on the camera angle used.
While this is a valid argument, it’s important to keep in mind this is the first year for the challenge. It’s going to take time to find all the glitches and make it an efficient process. I think the coaches have a right to make complaints and ask for improvements, but I really don’t think it’s fair to do it publicly just yet. It’s still better than not having it reviewed at all. The NHL has mentioned plans to try different cameras and angles at the upcoming All-Star game. It’s unfair to make open criticisms when they’re already aware of the problem and haven’t yet had a chance to work it out. The biggest concern I personally have so far is how many times an official has skated to the middle to announce the result of the review, only to forget what the decision was. That’s a real problem.
In the decision on the Simmons goal, it’s also interesting to note that the official doesn’t announce that the call on the ice stood because the review was inconclusive. He specifically says the call on the ice “was confirmed”, as per the NHL Situation Room recommendations, suggesting they determined conclusively the skate was on the ice and it was inside beyond a doubt.
If that’s the case, the tablet doesn’t seem to have provided anyone with an issue at all. If it’s inconclusive, to avoid confusion they should probably say so.