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The Blues benefited from a blown review decision, but there’s a bigger issue here

The St. Louis Blues were on the fortunate end of a goal review against the Colorado Avalanche that has stirred up some controversy. The review indicated the Avalanche were offside, nullifying the goal which would have tied the score at 4-4 late in the third period. However, the review should have not overturned the goal because the player in question, Sven Andrighetto, created a new zone entry which is what the review should have focused on.

Confused?

In summary, Andrighetto was offside and the official missed it. He then exited the zone, put himself onside, and then the goal was scored. The review should have only looked at the entry immediately before the goal, and not the entry that was offside.

Based on the current rules, that goal should have counted. It’s a tough blow for the Avalanche and a fortunate break for the Blues.

The NHL has admitted fault.

Their official statement should match the technicalities mentioned above. The review focused on the wrong zone entry.

Unfortunately, every hockey fan can admit that Andrighetto was offside by a large margin. There’s no debating that fact. However, the NHL’s current review system – as flawed and as overly complicated as it is – should have ignored that fact. The goal should have been a good one.

As a Blues fan (this is a Blues blog you’re on), I was pretty pleased to see the goal tossed. I do feel for the Avs because the goal really should have counted by the book.

Though the Blues benefited, the bigger picture here is more irritating. The NHL’s review system is supposed to improve the game, not create these very specific scenarios that leave more confusion. There was an offside call which should have been made here. The official completely missed it (he may have been screened), which led to all of this in the first place. The goal should have counted – by definition – but let’s not ignore that the NHL needs to clarify its own video review rules and work on its struggling officials. That missed offside call by the ref led to all of this in the first place.

Going a step further, does anyone really know what is goaltender interference and what isn’t? Even with the review system, there isn’t very much clarity. That’s a significant problem that the NHL apparently is in no rush to address. How is it that hockey fans – and players – seem to have fewer answers than they did before the era of video review? Some of this season’s interference calls – and non-calls – have been baffling.

Yes, the Blues benefited here. But, one day they won’t. Some day the incomplete review system will cost the Blues and fans won’t be quite as cheerful. The focus should be on correcting a broken system.

The game of hockey needs more from the NHL’s officials and its review system.

4 thoughts on “The Blues benefited from a blown review decision, but there’s a bigger issue here

  1. While we’re on the topic of improving the officiating, it’s tough not to bring up the Schrodinger’s Cat that is goaltender interference, and reviews thereof. Some calls are blatantly obvious – skater skated into the goalie without so much as an attempt at evasion, while some are less so, involving an offensive and defensive player jostling in the crease. On balance, the non-call not overturned last night (Bortuzzo getting helped onto Hutton) was reasonable enough, since he wasn’t really in a position to not run into his own goaltender anyway, regardless of whether or not the Avs player helped him do so, but the call *could* have gone the other way, and the grey area only expands in situations where the players are more stationary in a net-front battle. In a way, it’s even worse than the offside reviews, because at least those, theoretically, have an obvious true/false judgment. Goalie interference? At this point, I feel like they’d get it right as often by flipping a coin, because it’s a referee’s judgment call with little in the way of guidance from the rulebook (as called, anyway).

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    1. It always goes back to clarity and consistency, whether we’re talking about the officiating itself or the video reviews. All you have to do is watch more than one game on any given night and see two totally different books being followed and, if one comes up, two different interpretations on interference. It’s nuts. I really don’t understand how the powers that be can ignore such a blatant issue.

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  2. I was watching a game last season and several minutes after what appeared to be a goal save, in the middle of play the scorer’s bench sounded the horn and stopped play. I had never seen that happen. As it turned out, they had been watching the replay of the shot and saw that it crossed the line and was a goal. So, if they can stop play minutes later and say “That should have counted. It was in.” then why can’t they do the same thing with a blatant offside that the ref missed, which led to a goal?
    In my opinion instant replay is as big a frustration as it is a solution to blown calls in sports.

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    1. I know what kind of play you’re talking about. It’s fascinating that they can do something like that (stop a play and go back a few minutes to see if a puck went in) and yet the rules regarding replay are so convoluted.

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