There are a lot of offsides replay reviews in the NHL that feel too close to call, which happens when you’re looking for minute details in a high-speed game from cameras that aren’t necessarily at perfect angles. It’s commendable that the NHL tries so hard to get calls right, and it’s understandable that sometimes the right call isn’t readily apparent.
Still, it’s hard not to wonder if the Blackhawks got screwed when they challenged a goal by the Wild on Wednesday night. The official word from the league was that the review for offsides was “inconclusive,” leaving the call on the ice to stand. Good goal.
But if you look at the replays that were being shown on NBCSN, it seems like the command center in Toronto got this one wrong.
This was “inconclusive" pic.twitter.com/058KFMp8ro— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 9, 2017
Zach Parise is the skater on the far side of the ice who needs to get back to the blue line by the moment that the puck is touched past the blue line by Charlie Coyle. As you can see above, it seems pretty clear cut that Coyle touches the puck prior to Parise getting at least one skate back to the line.
Here’s a screenshot that appears to show Coyle possessing the puck past the blue line, and Parise has both skates in the offensive zone.
And another angle:
So this is inconclusive offsides to the officials. pic.twitter.com/b7e7bVDovT— Tomi Baffoe (@TimBaffoe) February 9, 2017
From all this, it seems pretty conclusive that Parise was offsides, and the goal should not have counted. The officials in Toronto, however, were not comfortable coming to that same conclusion after a review that lasted roughly eight minutes.
Here’s the official statement from the NHL on the decision:
And that’s that.
Maybe they have camera angles in Toronto that were not readily available to us watching at home. And given the difficulty of determining the exact moment where the puck actually touches Coyle’s stick, it’s possible that was the deciding factor in sticking with the call on the ice.
But on the flip side, man, those replays seem pretty conclusive. Props to video coach Matt Meacham for being the one to recognize it and get the team to challenge the play, even if it didn’t go their way. It seems like there’s a good chance the refs got this wrong.