Edmonton is pretty fired up right now and rightfully so. I’m all for ripping apart the hideous officiating we saw last night, this series, and throughout the playoffs. However, I want to bring up the “missed icing” call that lead to the OT winner last night. I think Oilersnation is looking a little too deep into this call, and I want to share some of my thoughts.
Like I said… refs = bad. I’m not defending them here, but I think we should take a step back on how hard we criticize them for this last icing call and maybe look at the poor clearing attempt, poor defensive coverage, and maybe a bad line change too. Let’s take a look:
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) May 4, 2017
I’ve watched this goal about 75 times this morning so I’m going to start off with what I see. Getzlaf makes a pass attempt from his own zone to Jakob Silfverberg who misses the puck entirely. The puck passes Oscar Klefbom down into the zone and icing is waved off. Klefbom passes the puck up the boards to Larsson, who is, unfortunately, trying to avoid the referee during his clearing attempt and Ryan Getzlaf intercepts the puck. He then makes the pass across to an open Silfverberg who potted the OT winner. *soft whimpering*
I agree that the officiating calls have been atrocious but to play Devils advocate.. the OT icing was waved off well before u probably think pic.twitter.com/jhi2HBzY0G
— x-Chris Gordeyko (@TheNationChris) May 4, 2017
I think it’s important to note that a linesman’s job is to wave an icing call as quick as possible. He wants to avoid a potentially dangerous play at the end-boards having two players collide when at the same time the puck crosses the goal line. So for technicality sake… the linesmen did his job here by waving the icing early while the puck crossed the blue line passing Klefbom.
Now before you yell at me, I think it’s ALSO important to note that the linesmen without a doubt misjudged the speed of the puck, and assumed the play would catch up to the puck before the goal line. The challenge for the linesman is to correctly match the speed of the puck and speed of the play while trying to make his decision as quick as possible on whether or not they’ll catch up to each other. Unfortunately, he got it wrong here. Klefbom was also skating backwards and didn’t turn immediately as the puck passed him which may be another reason why the linesman waved off the icing.
Alright sure, the linesmen blew the call, but in this situation the call is subjective and there has to be some margin for error. [PS – I used to think goalie interference and offside calls were objective, but now I don’t know what to think anymore]. Anyways, contrary to popular belief, I don’t think anybody really quit playing on this shift. We had two forwards go for a change at the bench, which can be considered a bad line change, but from what I see from the highlight, Klefbom and Larsson chase the puck down with the proper intensity that they should. This is the benefit of having the linesmen wave the icing off as early as possible.
After that comes a poor defensive clear from Adam Larsson – who granted, was forced to skate around the referee – and even worse defensive coverage on Jakob Silfverberg. Besides the two forwards who went for a line change, everyone on the ice at this point had their eyes on the puck, and in no way showed that they were waiting for an icing whistle. Silfverberg slipped behind the net, found some open space in the slot, and the rest is history.
I’m no coach and have a hard time making sense of how the Oilers could have gotten out of this situation. Could Klefbom have done a better job shadowing Silfverberg behind the net? Could Larsson have done a better job of clearing the puck? Could Lucic, who was at the end of his shift, positioned himself in front of Getzlaf instead of falling behind?
Let me know in the comments what you think of the icing call, and how the Oilers could have got themselves out of that play.