So far these Stanley Cup Playoffs there have been a few big story lines. We have fans throwing shit on the ice and beer on broadcasters, we have players getting fined and suspended for hurling homophobic slurs towards officials, and we have seemingly every other goal getting taken away after a coach’s challenge that take no less than 3 full minutes to come to a verdict. All three of those things are terrible for the game of hockey and all three of them immediately make just casual fans turn the channel. Now I may just be an idiot with access to the internet. I’m well aware of that. I’m in no way, shape or form an expert on hockey and I really hope that this isn’t breaking news to any of you. But here are a few thoughts on the coach’s challenge anyway, from a noted idiot.
Now before everybody gets pissed off and starts calling me an idiot, let me just say this. Yes, I’m in favor of getting the calls right and yes I understand that is the idea going into the coach’s challenge. But take this Kreider goal that was called off for instance. It was ultimately the right call because JT Miller entered the zone offside. But there was 7:18 left on the clock when Miller first entered the zone. The play had already been established, the teams were fighting for a lose puck in the corner, and Kreider doesn’t score until there’s 7:04 left on the clock. That’s 14 full seconds for the Penguins to get their whereabouts and stop the Rangers from scoring regardless of whether or not the play was offside or not. Do you really think that JT Miller entering the zone a fraction of an inch before the puck 14 seconds before the end of the play was actually the sole reason for why Kreider scored that goal? No. The Penguins got beat on the forecheck, they lost a battle in the corner, completely lost track of Kreider in the slot and were able to use the coach’s challenge as a crutch to get out of their mistake for free. Like I said, it was the correct call but a fraction of an inch doesn’t prevent that goal from happening.
The thing that sucks the most about these challenges is that they all take way too damn long. And the reason why they take so long is because we’re dealing with a fraction of an inch here on all of them. If it takes 3 minutes to determine if a play was offside or not, chances are it doesn’t have any real impact on the play. But you have all these refs looking like a bunch of monkeys trying to hump a doorknob surrounding this little tiny iPad trying to make a call that doesn’t make them look like the biggest bunch of bozos on the planet, it gives the team who just got scored on a nice chance to regroup and catch their breath, and then you have a huge momentum swing once the goal gets reversed. We saw it happen in game 3 of Isles-Panthers and we saw it happen game 2 of Blackhawks-Blues.
So here is my plan to Make Coach’s Challenges Great Again, as proposed by an idiot. Just throw time limits on the bitch. If the offsides in question happened longer than 10 seconds prior to the goal, well then fuck that you shouldn’t be allowed to challenge it unless it was a grotesque missed gall. And then if you do actually challenge a call, well then the refs should only have 60 seconds to determine if it was offside or not. If they can’t make a decision in that amount of time, then again, it really didn’t have any impact on the goal that was scored. Hockey is a fast-paced game and that’s the beauty of it. And if the NHL actually wants more scoring in the game to sell it to more casual fans, well then maybe think about not taking back every other goal that’s scored in the playoffs. Just another free thought from an idiot.
So in closing, I’m all for making sure we get the right calls on the ice. But not if it’s at the cost of slowing down the game and making decisions based on fractions of an inch. Maybe put lasers on the blueline and a sensor on the puck. Obviously the NHL would have to invest in a lot of nerds to get that technology working and would have to find a way to differentiate whether a defensive player or offensive player enters the zone before the puck but it’s 2016. I can send a picture of my dick half way across the world to China and it’ll disappear in 10 seconds. I think we can get some nerds to put laser beams on bluelines. Also, maybe think about putting electric collars on the refs so if they make the wrong calls, they get shocked. That’ll stop them from shitting the bed on all these goals real quick. And once again, these are all thoughts from your local idiot.