Photo Credit: © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid’s response to the offside review was calm and captainy

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*

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“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.

Monday Mailbag - What went wrong?

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.”

Preach, Connor!

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“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.

Any Questions?
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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.

  • Serious Gord

    Offside should be treated like balls and strikes in baseball. The in the moment call is the final ruling.

    Review is a one Way thing – no plays are resumed because the linesman called it offside when it wasn’t. Therefore ignore should not be reviewable.

    Egregious screw-ups are just rare occurrences that must be tolerated.

    • Melanie97

      McD also said “It’s very hard to sit here and question the rule right now because it’s obviously a little sensitive.” They talk to the players immediately after the game when they’re still pissed off.

  • That's My Point

    Last year’s game against Preds the goal was ALLOWED for the Preds against the Oilers when a Preds player had both feet straddling the blueline and both in the air. What’s the NHL doing? This blatant bias is not good for hockey fans. Canada’s game has been “Americanized”.

  • TKB2677

    This is the NHL, I don’t expect a lot of common sense to come into play when it comes to anything. You have scenarios where a goalie makes a glove save. He will literally pull the puck out of his glove and give it to the official. A team calls for a review saying it was over the line, the replay shows the entire glove was over the line including where the goalie just pulled the puck out of but it will be waved off because the evidence was “inconclusive” because you physically couldn’t see the puck over the line. Doesn’t matter where the puck ended up and that area was over the line.

    When it comes to offside, the rule says you can’t have your skate off the ice. I believe the intent was if your skate was overtop of the blueline. Khaira’s skate is literally 2 feet behind the blueline, his entire leg is behind the blueline but according to the rule, his skate is off the ice. Doesn’t matter common sense shows he’s onside, the rule says ….”

    Then when it comes to the review process. The game is called at full speed. The linesmen have to make calls at full speed looking through legs and sticks. They don’t get to slow the play down to frame by frame or super zoomed in. Yet they do the review frame by frame, super zoomed in. If you want to do a review, then do it at full speed like it is called. If it takes slowing it down to frame by frame and super zoomed in to see it’s millimeters offside or the skate is millimeters off the ice, then obviously it was so close, it had NO impact on the play.

  • McRaj

    It’s the refs fault
    It’s Lowes fault
    It’s Katz fault
    It’s Coach Ts fault
    It’s Mac Ts fault
    It’s the NHLs fault
    It’s PCs fault
    It’s the bottom 6 players fault
    It’s Russ’s fault
    It’s the assistant coaches fault


      Oilers have 4 regulation goals in the last 6 games and Connor had a point on 3 of them. If you think he’s a part of the problem, you’re not watching the games. Back to my band vs hockey comparison… you could put Eddie Van Halen with three chumps that are horrendous at singing, playing bass and drumming, and that band is going to SUCK!

    • BasementDweller

      Yeah, you’re right, it’s totally Connor’s fault. I mean, he’s only top 10 in league scoring on a diarrhea team.

      He totally could have gotten Jujhar to stay onside for that goal…. good call.

      • McRaj

        Except when the star players leave or get traded. Then we change our tune on them. If Mclellan wants to send a message. Sit lucic next game for the awful penalty. Next time McDavid makes a major mistake which leads to a goal against. Sit him. That will send shock waves through the room.

        • Release the Hounds

          Awful penalty? Are you serious? The way the games get called nowdays, players don’t even know what a friggin penalty any more! Was a stick to the nuts not worthy of a call but Lucic’s penalty was? Was the hook by Subban on #97 not worthy of a call, but Lucic’s penalty was?

        • That's My Point

          If Kesler does what Lucic did, there IS NO PENALTY. That’s the point. Lucic isn’t doing anything wrong; he’s getting the calls against him because of the NHL. Anybody else does what Lucic did against an Oiler and there WILL NEVER BE A PENALTY called. This is the PROBLEM.

        • corky

          But what if you bought tickets to go to only one game and found out McDavid was scratched? Pissed off would be an understatement. Yes to accountabilty but no to insanity.

  • The Future Never Comes

    I would have made a bigger stink about this sort of rule if it was a pivotal 2 points this team needed for a playoff spot. However, the dreams of this season are over and this play really has no bearing on the final outcome. So in other words, whatever.

  • I think all the pro leagues have major issues with officiating and rules interruption – especially the NFL and NBA. No need to go down that rabbit hole.

    There is a collective frustration that has mounted over a long period of time from the fan base – this year is especially bad given the hope that was provided last year. McDavid, as great as he is, isn’t going to single handily put the team over the proverbial edge – he needs pieces around him, pieces which are all too clear lacking.

    What the proverbial “pieces” look like is the challenge that neither the fan base has the answers to and most disturbingly what the Oilers front office cannot seemingly figure out.

    No reason this team should miss the playoffs. Period.

  • Oilman99

    What have the Oilers done to receive such biased refereeing? Hooking by Suban on McD, and blatant stick to the Kahunas on Maroon right in front of a ref with a clear view, is so frustrating. I would hope management gave the NHL office an earful today as this seems to happen all the time.

  • Randaman

    I guarantee you that if it was an Oiler that speared someone in the nuts with no call, the league would’ve stepped in and scheduled a hearing. There doesn’t have to be a call on the ice, right? Where is the safety committee on this stuff. Believe me, I think we can all attest as to how much that hurts…!!

  • Disappointed

    Please, please, please lets not have any comparisons to soccers offside rules where they allow a goal if the offside man has no impact on the play. Because of the speed of hockey a defenceman will most likely make a move to cover the offside guy, not knowing if he actually is or not, thus he does have an impact on the play.

    • crabman

      If a player’s back skate is on the ice and on or behind the blueline or a player’s back skate is on or behind the blueline but off the ice an inch has no difference in the play. that is my only issue with the offside rule. the blueline should be considered a 3D line like the goal line. on a goal the puck needs to fully criss the goal line whether on the ice or in the air. it should be the same for a.skate and an offside. as long as the player hasn’t fully entered the offensive zone before the puck it should be no offside.

  • corky

    Connor hit the nail on the head when he said they would love the rule if it went for them. He gets it. Thousands of decisions are made a season. Im sure the players have moved on from this quite quickly.

    • IRONman

      I wish the NHL called the game like the WHL. Too much hooking now. Too much interference. If the guy does not have the puck you can’t touch him. Seriously

  • OilLarry

    My suggestion for the offside review would be to allow the linesmen (or officials in Toronto – not sure who makes these calls…) to review the play 3 times, at game speed. No slow motion, zoomed-in replay from every possible angle. If they don’t see enough convincing evidence to overturn their call on the ice (ie, not offside) after watching it at game speed a few more times, then it stands. This would eliminate the egregious offsides like the Matt Duchene one that started this whole thing, and also likely mean that the plays that are offside by “an armhair” are not overturned. I think this would be more in line with the realities of the game. Sometimes a guy is going to be a millimeter offside and the linesmen is not going to catch it – and that’s OK because that millimeter doesn’t create a material advantage. When a guy is offside by a foot like Duchene was, the linesmen will easily be able to see that on the game speed replay, and make the correct call.

  • Dobbler

    Is it just me, or do the Oil very rarely ask for a review? Even when it just cost a time out? Is that a failure of the video coaches? Like or hate the rule, but if you’re not exploiting it to your advantage, you’re failing.

  • camdog

    I don’t really like when the Oilers win an off side challenge to tell you the truth. I never have liked having to wait to determine if a goal is a goal. Worst is when you are watching 2 teams you are neutral about and the off side challenge comes out – either the TV gets turned off or the channel gets turned. I’m not going to sit through that.

  • Louiemac75

    I think they should take away the ability to review the play before a challenge. If a coach feels strongly enough that he seen something the officials missed then it should only be challenged without the opportunity to review the play first

  • Klef abs

    Oh man still so much whining from BM and some posters. It was offside. The same rule that has been around for decades. It’s a good rule and it will never be taken out. Now if your whole point is the video review of offside? Then maybe they should remove it. There are subjective calls all the time and they usually even out. But BM saying they were screwed out of at least a point on that game? Jesus…

    • Gravis82

      Blue line was put in so refs didn’t have to watch for advantage as they do in soccer, cause that would be impossible. Gives the ref a location to focus on. If a human can’t say that there is a clear advantage in real time with an eyeball, then practically speaking there was none. This is why the review is bad, because it splits hairs on something within an area of space and time that is inconcequential, and that has no effect on the outcome of what happened in the zone. Similar to skate in Crease by 1mm. The only place they should be looking at 1mm (and less) distances are at the goal line in the net.

  • Wranglicon

    The stupidity of the whole situation to me isn’t that it was video reviewed. I’m not exactly all for it – Golf (of all freaking sports) got it right when they mandated they would “…acquit players if they were unable to see an error with their naked eye (thinking moving grains of sand), if they could be reasonably expected to make the decision they made in a given situation.”

    The major problem for the NHL is making the blue line a physical point on the ice, instead of a point in space. There should be a theoretical line that extends upwards in a plane, and the players foot being down or not should have no bearing upon his on/off-side. Yes, keep offsides. Keep video review if you must. I can’t agree to “player being part of the play” or “time limitations” on the call, since there is way too much subjectivity that way. Someone above said it right, just because the puck wasn’t near him, doens’t mean the defence or goalie don’t need to react to or be aware of the player, and that could have huge impacts on being able to keep the puck in the zone in the first place. imagine needing to review all 45 seconds of that play to see what impact khaira had on the movements of the opposition???? 1 hour reviews incoming. As for the imaginary line extending up in space, now khaira is onside, as was arvedsson last season, since they were both within the offside “space”.

    tl;dr Make the offside line extend upwards infinitely, where the physical position matters, not skates on the ice. Keep the challenge, keep the lack of other limitations.

  • I agree with Mr. McDavid. Scrap this useless rule. Goals should only get called back when stuff happens around the, you know, the net. If a linesman misses an offside, it’ll be by a hair anyway, and it doesn’t affect one iota whether the puck went in or not or there was goalie interference. Plus, there is now this phantom period of time of play after the supposed offside, where, if a player gets injured, you can’t call that back now can you?

  • btrain

    No question, this was the correct call and one that the officials probably feel is absurd to have to make. Tweaks could include, allowing player to lift their foot, only being challengeable on clear advantage plays within a specific time limit, allowing for a buffer zone/ a degree of human error, etc. However, the best suggestion is from the captain, get rid of it all together. The amount of goals overturned by this rule that actually gave a team any kind of advantage, is few and far between. In fact, I would guess it could be counted on 1 hand, league wide, where a team clearly gained an advantage that was missed by the linesmen. NHL players and teams, in a league starving for offense, should not have these get out of jail free opportunities. Its just not right and its a garbage way to settle a regular season game and it is tragic way to settle/influence a playoff game.

  • The Jags’ Other Fan

    Anyone see Mike Johnson’s comments on TSN about some tweaks that could be made? Interesting ideas…treating the blue line like a goal line in football; aerial view showing a body part like a leg or skate still in the neutral zone, etc. At the end of the day, it’s the rule and was enforced correctly. Even though it would’ve cost Khaira some speed making that zone entry, ensuring he dragged his toe would’ve been the best solution!

  • corky

    NFL is going through the same thing right now. The tall foreheads make the rules. The rules are abided by and teams get screwed sometimes. Next bigwig meeting this will probably be discussed and finetuned.

  • Maybe if the Oilers weren’t constantly out boozing they’d win more. From talking to Letestu’s inlaws, this group likes to party on a daily basis. Slow stats in games? That’ll happen when you’re hung over.

  • Alberta Ice

    Conner gave a good, solid, calm response in that interview. Maybe the offside coaches challenge should be thrown out. If the referee doesn’t call it, let the play go. However, the present challenge and review will burn a lot of teams. This time the Oilers were shown to be milliseconds on the wrong end of the line.

  • crabman

    To all the people who have been calling anyone complaining about that offside call a whiner Colin Campbell said himself that it’s time to look at the rule. The player was inside his foot was just off the ice. enough goals have been called back by this ridiculous skate off the ice rule that has no effect on the play. It’s nice to hear some common sense coming out of the NHL front office and hopefully it’s not just lip service.

    • Rob...

      Only a moron would think the rule, as it currently is being interpreted, is proper. Calling Khaira offside was the correct call based on how the rule is currently enforced, but that does not make it a good rule. I would say it’s analogous to a tax loophole that permits a corporation to avoid paying the taxes it should be paying based on where its revenue is earned. They may not be breaking the law, but the regulations should be fixed to prevent it from happening in the future.

  • icetime

    If you actually read the off-side rule in the NHL rules it would appear that Khaira was NOT actually off-side at all. See Rule 83. Not sure why the NHL interprets off-side to include the situation where the back skate is on-side but not contacting ice. Rules don’t say anything about that. Rules state that a player is off-side when both skates are completely over the line before the puck (not applicable in case of Khaira). Rules also state that player is on-side when at least one skate is on his own side of blue line (as was case with Khaira). So how the NHL interprets this as off-side is beyond me…

    • Rob...

      Lawyers would argue that in cases where only one skate is on the ice you would need to take only that skate as the exclusive reference point, therefore Khaira would be offside. The rule instead should state that at least one skate has not crossed completely into the offensive zone, where the blue line itself is to be considered neutral ice.

      • icetime

        The rules DOES currently state that. Rule 83.1 reads, “A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.”