PITTSBURGH – P.K. Subban waited for his shot and fired. The puck sailed through a screen and behind Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray. The Nashville Predators, playing in their first Stanley Cup Final game in franchise history, appeared to have a 1-0 lead on the road in Game 1 on Monday night.
And then Penguins coach Mike Sullivan called for a coach’s challenge.
The issue: Was the right skate of Predators forward Filip Forsberg in the air as he received a pass and entered the Penguins’ zone.
The ruling: No goal, as the play was offside.
From the NHL
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesmen, NHL Hockey Operations staff determined that Forsberg preceded the puck into the attacking zone, nor did he have possession and control before crossing the blue line. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Toronto Video Room, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Take a look:
A closer look:
From the NHL rulebook:
The position of the player’s skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play. A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line regardless of the position of his stick. However, a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered “off-side,” provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line.
It should be noted that while the position of the player’s skates is what determines whether a player is “off-side,” nevertheless the question of an “off-side” never arises until the puck has completely crossed the leading edge of the blue line at which time the decision is to be made.
It was a close play. Very close. On NBCSN, Eddie Olczyk thought it was inconclusive enough for the goal to stand.
Even if it was the right call, this brings us back to a basic question about the coach’s challenge for offside: In a League constantly looking for more goals, is it worth this trouble to correct reasonable human error?
Gary Bettman defended the coach’s challenges hours before the game.
“We think it’s working the way it was intended to,” he said.
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