After the Oilers got shafted out of at least a point in last night’s game against the Predators, Connor McDavid spoke to Tom Gazzola following the loss. To no one’s surprise, the captain’s response was measured and thoughtful, which is more than I can say about myself.
Before we get started with what Connor said, I want to say that I understand why the goal was called back. I get that it was called back because the review followed the rule as it is written. I get that. Last night, we had all kinds of fun boys talking about why the goal was called back as if we don’t all understand it. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to Connor.
When asked about the way the game ended, Connor nailed it:
“We battle that hard, find a way to tie up the game, and the guy’s an arm-hair offside and they call it back.”
As it turns out, those couple of inches really matter! *rimshot, gets pelted by fruit*
“It’s obviously hard to agree with the rule because obviously, it didn’t go our way.”
Last night’s game had the makings of a great finish and when Letestu’s goal got called back it was like the NHL wound up and delivered a straight shot right to the nuts of Oilers fans everywhere. Not only was the officiating questionable at best, calling back that goal was absurd for a league that is incessantly looking for more offence. For a league with so many shades of grey when it comes to the rulebook, following it to the tee on goals like this seems odd.
As expected, Connor agreed.
“Ultimately, I feel as though they should just take the rule out.”
I think the worst part about it is that the “offside” really had nothing to do with the goal. There was no advantage gained, and the fact that having your skate off the ice was enough to call it back is absurd. Again, this is coming from a league that has talked about things like increasing the net size to get goal scoring up.
“The number of calls that are a millimetre offside and 45 seconds before the play, it doesn’t have very much of an effect on the goal itself.”
“I think the fans want to see offence. If that’s going to hold back from offence, I think it’s obviously frustrating.”
It’s frustrating but not surprising at the same time. With the way this season has gone, I don’t know why we’re surprised that the Oilers lost off of a goal that was scored off of Larsson’s face followed by a phantom offside call.
“That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
I know, Connor, but it’s so annoying to lose this way that I’m having a hard time letting go. That rule is ridiculous and the NHL should be embarrassed about it, don’t you think?
“It’s very hard to sit here and question the rule right now because it’s obviously a little sensitive.”
You’re damned right it’s sensitive. I know you have to try to be diplomatic, but I don’t. That rule, even though I understand it, doesn’t make a lick of sense and it’s ridiculous. I hate everyone. Connor, how are you staying so calm?
“If we were on the other side, we’d obviously love the rule.”
Yeah… You’re right — I know you’re right — but I don’t have to be happy about it. You’re a better man than I am. You were calm with a camera in your face, I was throwing things like some kind of blogging Hulk. It’s garbage and we both know it.
“It’s something that I hope they take out.”
That would just make too much sense.
At the end of the day, the NHL made the right call, but that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it. The thing I can’t wrap my head around is that the NHL wants to be as precise as possible on these reviews but don’t seem to have any problem with how inconsistent the officials are on the ice. If you’re allowed to review an offside that happened nearly a minute before the goal, why shouldn’t we be allowed to review other non-calls?
In the end, the NHL is correct in that they have to have systems in place to make sure they get calls right, but they need to put more thought into how that happens. While I do like that the team that makes the challenge gets a penalty if it goes wrong, they have to keep working on it. Maybe that means they institute some kind of, for lack of a better term, a statute of limitations on how long a play can go on and still be reviewable. Am I wrong? As much as it’s important to get calls right, people pay to see goals and the NHL keeps finding new ways of getting rid of them.