If you can count on one thing, it’s that Gary Bettman will find a way to fuck things up.
Expansion? Fucked Up.
Conferences? Fucked Up real good.
Player Safety? Total Ned Betty Banjo Job.
And now we get to replay challenges.
The in thing now is to use a challenge to question whether a player was off-sides to negate the goal associated with the illegal zone entry.
It’s bullshit for two reasons:
First, 95% of the time the “off-sides” in question could would never have been called off-sides in the previous decades long history of the league. We aren’t righting cosmic wrongs here. We are letting coaches, game the challenge system, using the rule for minutia that it was never meant to adjudicate, and get their teams off the hook for good goals that would be good goals if not for a frame by frame Zuprudering of the puck crossing the blue line. There is no advantage gained here. These are plays that were, IN REAL TIME, close enough in a lineman’s eyes and judgement to be allowed. In a league starving for offense, why are we letting teams take goals that NOBODY but team replay officials question, off the board?
Second, Half the time the officials on the ice can’t tell on the replay either!!! You have the refs on the ice looking at a play on a freaking 7 inch tablet trying to figure out if two black pixels have enough white pixels between the them and the out of focus blue line.
WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?!?!
If I can’t tell what the call is on my 65″ HD livingroom Jumbo-tron, how the hell are the refs sleuthing the correct outcome off a godforsaken Kindle?!?
Since my head is not yet lodged totally up my ass, I offer these common sense solutions.
- Liberalize the offside rule. Skates no longer have to be on the ice. Touching the blue line with the puck immediately makes it on-sides.
- Off-side challenges can only be made when the zone entry leads directly and immediately to the goal.
- Calls that would not be discernible to the naked eye in real time are not reviewable.
This makes too much sense for Bettman to ever implement so it’s a pure pipe dream on my part but maybe, just maybe, our commissioner will buck a trend and unfuck something for once.