The Chicago/St. Louis series is living up to the hype. The one thing missing so far is goal scoring. Where space is so hard to come by, it stands to reason scoring would be down. That’s not taking away from the excitement of the games, mind you, but it does make any coach’s challenge incredibly significant. That’s probably why there was so much opinion about the calls from the third period that ultimately decided the final score.

The first was a goal from Tarasenko that made it 2-1 for the Blues with under 10:00 minutes left. Jori Lehtera took a bank pass off the boards and gained the zone, taking it deep. He found Tarasenko in the slot, who made no mistake. The play was overturned after a coach’s challenge for offside.

My general feeling on coach’s challenges is that I like the offside one because for the most part it’s a black and white, theoretically conclusive thing to see on a replay.

The obvious problem with it has nothing to do with the actual offside play, but how long before a goal is scored does that offside call stay relevant? In this case, I would consider the goal to have been scored on the initial chance created by the missed call, so I have no problem with it being overturned.

Looking at the replay, I think it is 100%, indisputably conclusive as an offside. What I’m afraid of is that the general intention of the challenge is being abused. It should be used to determine whether or not the puck enters the zone ahead of the player. Basic, right? But because of the other factors of the offside rule, it’s getting into the not so black and white areas of whether or not a skate was on the ice. This is generally not so easily black and white from a camera. I can see why they have to try and figure it out because technically that’s part of determining offside, but IF that and that alone was the only complaint people had about offside calls prior to introducing cameras and a coaches challenge, I don’t think the idea would have been accepted. It’s too hard to tell in most cases and goes back to opinion. Adding a camera and a challenge for opinions only changes the number of opinions that need to be considered before a decision can be made. The delays caused by this aren’t worth it.

This brings me to the next event of the third period. The goal by Shaw was reviewed and allowed, and I think that was absolutely the right call. He battled cleanly for net position, didn’t engage with goalie Brian Elliott until after the puck entered the picture, and didn’t impede his ability to make the save at all. The only contact between Shaw and the tender was created by a push from a St. Louis defenceman.

The only problem I have with the goal is that the review process was used at all. As I said, I like the offside one, at least as it is intended, because it’s a black and white issue with conclusively determinable factors.
The goalie interference one is too much opinion. Was the goalie prevented from making a save? That’s too open ended for a camera to pick up on. How much did the contact of the defenceman force Shaw into the goalie? Was there enough force or could he have still prevented it? My opinion is that Shaw was pushed, as I said, but that’s all it is. Opinion. The refs conferred, they gave their opinion. After that delay, the upstairs video crew for each team looked at it and gave their opinion. Then the coach’s challenge was issued. So now Toronto has to look at it. More opinions. Too many people, too much delay. These take way longer because there’s too much too look for. It’s not a basic question. What crossed the line first? That’s basic. You look. You take a few seconds to decide. You confirm one more time. Away you go.
In goalie interference it’s were they inside or outside the crease? Was the puck saveable in the first place? Was the goalie prevented from making the save? Was there contact at all? Did the player do everything he could to avoid contact? These are just some of the questions. That’s too much too look for, too inconclusive to determine, and in this case a camera or any minds in some war room aren’t going to make any better decision than the on ice officials, and especially not in a timely enough fashion.

So bottom line, both calls were correct. The delays ruined the game. Take the goalie interference challenge out immediately. Give the offside challenge two more years to work itself out.

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