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Photo Credit: Nick Roy / The Score

WWYDW(SE): Review Everything or Review Nothing

It seems the San Jose Sharks have been gifted Get out of Jail Free cards from the league in these playoffs.

They’ve used three of them so far. The first came in Game 7 of their first-round series against Vegas when the Sharks were gifted a game-changing five-minute power play in the third period. The next one came in Game 7 of the second round against Colorado when the Avs had a key goal taken away due to an offside challenge. And, most recently, the Sharks got away with using a hand-pass to win Game 3 against St. Louis in overtime.

You can tell the league was embarrassed by the call. The official Twitter account cut the highlight so that you couldn’t see the hand pass:

Each situation has stirred up controversy around both reffing and the way in which calls are reviewed. When Cody Eakin took that five-minute penalty people suggested a game-changing call like that should be subject to a review. Then, in the second round, when Gabriel Landeskog not being able to get on the bench quick enough resulted in the Avs losing a goal, people figured there was too much review. Finally, yesterday’s botched call has people back on the train of the league needing more review.

The big issue here is that some things are reviewable and some aren’t. Landeskog had literally nothing to do with the play, but, since it was reviewable under the rulebook, the Sharks were able to use a Get out of Jail Free card. Timo Meier’s hand pass was just as illegal as an offside, but it isn’t specifically reviewable under the rulebook, so, despite the fact it actually had something to do with the play, the Blues couldn’t challenge it.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday SUNDAY EDITION question. How can the league fix this issue when it comes to reviews? Should more things be reviewable? Or should they scrap the system? Is there a middle ground? Because, as of right now, it isn’t working.

Back in the good old days, we only ever heard the lines “we’re going upstairs!” to take a look at a close play made right around the net. The plays that got reviewed were things like a possible kicking motion right in front of the net or a puck trapped under a goalie’s glove that may or may not have just squeaked over the line.

But since Matt Duchene scored this absurd, clearly offside goal a few years back, offsides have been shoehorned into the review process. Of course, the result has mostly been agitating, long pauses in action in which a guy being a step over the line results in a goal being called back, but, according to the rulebook, they are the right calls.

If you can go upstairs and take back a goal due to a player being a step offside, why stop there? Certainly, Meier’s hand-pass was more egregious than Landeskog standing by the bench, right? Maybe the standard, at least in the playoffs, should be to quickly review each goal no matter what. You’d catch situations like Meier’s hand-pass without having to have a specific thing written into the rulebook about it being a reviewable play.

The issue here is pretty obvious. Reviews are a huge buzzkill. It’s annoying going upstairs for five minutes to zoom in on a guy’s feet. Imagine doing it after every single goal. Also, what things would review people be looking for? Would, say, having seven guys on the ice during a change for a split second result in a too many men on the ice call?

I think the NHL should follow the NBA’s model for reviewing plays. As written in the NBA’s rulebook, Instant replay can be triggered if the officials are not reasonably certain about something happening. The game moves incredibly quickly and there’s a lot for two referees and two linesmen to watch. They’re obviously going to miss things, so give them the ability to admit when they’re unsure of something so it’s called correctly.

That’s much, much better than teams having random Get out of Jail Free cards for certain rules but not others, and it’s much, much better than going to a review on every single goal.

  • fasteddy

    The problem is where does it stop? A player gets away with a trip in his own end leads to an easy breakout which leads to a goal….etc. Will never happen but I’d say leave it at whether the puck crosses the line or not.

  • Ivan Drago

    What is wrong with this website now? It used to be the best. Now it sucks but I still come here cause I’m an idiot die hard oil fan. But now I’m run over by constant and annoying adds and pop ups, a comment section designed to destroy back and forth conversation and still no edit button after BM promised it was coming for forever. I’ve been coming to this site for close to 10 yrs and I know there used to be way more comments on articles back then. No coincidence comments dropped when this new site format came into play.

    • Ivan Drago

      If I had an edit button I would actually change my comment. The website doesn’t suck. It just changed and not for better imo. The articles are still pretty good as the amount of content. I just hate the ads and comments section.

      • Johnny Zylon

        Time to get rid of human referees completely and go Artificial Intelligence. Or get refs off the ice completely and ref the entire game by video. Just need some some linesman to drop the puck. If there’s a fight a bunch of bouncers could skate out to stop it.

  • Spydyr

    Put a retired ref up in the press box with access to replays. If the on ice official think they might have missed something or need help with a call they can contact him. Refs are human they miss things and make mistakes. This gives a chance to remedy errors.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Use the 50ft jumbotrons to make decisions, not 10 inch iPads. Put a clock on all decisions. 2 mins is plenty. They have 1 second to get it right in the live action. Make the offside a plane. Make the review possibility for OS end after the initial rush. Review any goal that may have been controversial. 2 mins max, and stick with that.

  • OilCan2

    Get rid of the offside review. If the play is active let it continue. Give coaches a review with a caveat. Review anything; a penalty gets called either proving the review or delay of game.

  • toprightcorner

    The NHL should only review goals as they are an immediate difference maker. The situation room should only be made up of referees and not a bunch of old tool bags. The review can be for anything within 7 seconds of the goal being scored. In the regular season, the referee can review any goal anytime they want. Coaches should get 2 challenges on goals. If they are correct, they just use up a challenge. If they are incorrect, they get a 2 min delay of game penalty. This means they will be obvious missed calls and not just a hope. The only time they don’t get a penalty is on a goalie interference call, mostly becasue those see like they could always go either way.

    In the playoffs, every goal should be reviewed within 7 seconds of the goal. This won’t take much time, especially with referees making the call.

    Offside calls to cancel out a goal have nothing to do with touching the line, as long as 1 part of the skate is across the plane of the line.

    There will be no limitations to why a goal can be challenged. Hitting the netting, high stick, too many men, interference, whatever.

    The key is referees in the situation room that the other referees on the ice can talk to.
    Offside

  • hagar

    Get rid of all reviews that can be asked for, then simply have a qualified (ie person who can see) watching the games from monitors just like we do.
    When something obvious gets missed that will change the game significantly such as a huge offside, glove pass, or whatever, the dude smacks a button on his desk, and a light pops on over the time keepers box bright as the sun.
    Same goes for if the guy sees someone get two handed or cross checked in the face or something that is vicious, and the player needs to leave now.
    Everyone at home and calling the game instantly know the obvious misses. If you have to squint to see if someone is offside, let the on ice non call remain and chalk it up as an acceptable part of game play error.

  • Serious Gord

    If technology can get more calls right then so be it.

    The officials (I’m including both on and off the ice) should at least have as much information as the fans do. (Did you know they are prohibited from looking up at the scoreboard screens?)

    The off ice officials should be allowed to tell the on ice ones to stop the play and overturn incorrect decisions that are material – things that are vastly more objective than subjective.

    Unlike football where due to the complexity of the action (it is argued by some that there is a callable infraction on virtually every play), this level of review/oversight is not going to prolong the game that much.

  • ed from edmonton

    1. Agree that the referees should be able to ask for help when they are unsure as to what exactly happened, like the Eakins penalty, or if they think they may have just something, like the OT goal.

    2. Every goal and close non-goa; should be reviewed. 95% of these reviews will be done before the normal timing for the upcoming faceoff. Within the 30 seconds to a minute that occurs after the boys congratulate themselves, do the bench fly by and then maybe a line change the “normal” review will be done. Once in a while there will be a hold up when something needs to be looked at closely but this will be a cost of getting it right.

    3. Scrap the offside review. To find an obvious offside error that impacted a goal the author had to go a number of years. Indicate the offside challenge is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.

    4. If this is instituted coaches challenges would have no purpose and this would offset any impact goals reviews on the length of games.

  • Fireball

    Everyone watching the game on TV could see the majority of these calls were wrong almost instantly. A simple way of preventing this from happening going forward, without slowing the game down would be.., Have a veteran official watching the game in a room in each building on a TV with a head set live to the on ice official. Adding the ability to do it in a helmet is simple. You can buy biker helmets with blue tooth, n microphones built in to talk rider to rider So it’s not a very hard thing to do. Especially with Billion Dollar backing. That would be the simplest of set ups. You expand on that and have 20 big screens with all the different broadcasting feeds and a replay guy there live breaking it down for that guy. Either way if a official watched the CBC feed alone they would mitigate most of the issues in this playoffs.

    • Fireball

      are we worried about getting it right or slowing things down ? I think this idea will get it right ( within reason ) and it shouldn’t slow the game down. We have the technology and it’s just that simple.

    • Ratt McNuge

      Don’t worry. Kenny Holland is going to build a team so powerful that no amount of American bias from the refs will be able to stop McDavey and the Oilers from bringing the Cup back to Canada via Edmonton. You’ll see.

      • CityofWhat

        I’ve been waiting for that for 22 years man, I know it’s been longer than that but that’s how long I’ve been a fan. Since the Marchant went top shelf on Moog in 07.

  • 50 Flex

    I like what Friedman suggested. 2 challenges for each team and they can challenge whatever they want. Maximum of 4 challenges per game. Not ideal, but I think we could live with 4.