The Boston Bruins have lost just three games in regulation of the 16 games they’ve played so far this season. Of those, two games were decided, at least in part, by goals being disallowed following video reviews.
Most recently, in Tuesday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens, a goal scored by Charlie Coyle that would have put the Bruins on top 5-4 in the third period was ruled offsides and taken away.
The camera angles provided on the NBC broadcast seemed to show Coyle and the puck entering the offensive zone at nearly the same time, with the Bruins center controlling the puck with his skates in order to get it onto his stick. The review took about three minutes before the goal call was overturned.
Last month in Colorado, the Bruins had two goals called off following similar review scenarios. That game ended with a 4-2 Avalanche victory, meaning the Bruins could have tied the score if the goals had not been overturned. One of those goals was challenged for offsides nearly a minute after the initial goal call.
Getting It Right
All of this controversy has spawned a serious debate over the league’s rules for challenging, and reviewing, a potential offsides play. The main concern, voiced by Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, fans and the media alike, seems to be the amount of time required to make a relatively straightforward call.
An argument can be made that if a play needs to be slowed down and scrutinized for three minutes to determine whether the right call was made, common sense would dictate that the original call should stand. In Coyle’s case, he was attempting to play the puck, not skating into the zone ahead of it. Even if he call was ruled offsides because the officials were following the exact letter of the law, the move gave him no advantage on the play.
It seems there are problems in the system that need to be addressed. So, the question is, what should be done? Believe In Boston Sports put that very question to fans and followers on Twitter.
Most respondents felt a time limit should be imposed, although that option was only slightly more popular than the notion of eliminating the offsides review entirely. One person commented that only goals should be reviewed, with the ability to challenge offsides and goaltender interference being eliminated. Another comment backed up the majority sentiment related to imposing a time limit.
No rule or system is perfect. However, if the league is willing to put in a rule that is designed to avoid on-ice officiating mistakes affecting the outcome of game, it also needs to be willing to tweak that rule when obvious flaws are revealed.
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