By: Jeremy Perrigo
Monday night before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media in his annual state of the league address.
He discussed a multitude of topics ranging from player participation in the Olympics and next year’s All Star Game in Tampa Bay to video review on goaltender interference and offsides calls.
No more than a few hours after his address was there a controversial offsides call on what would have been the first goal of the Stanley Cup Final from Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.
Earlier on the play Nashville winger Filip Forsberg caught a pass heading into the offensive zone that would eventually be the reason the goal was reversed. It was ruled that as Forsberg was receiving the pass with his stick inside the Pittsburgh Penguins defensive zone, he lifted his right foot up before the puck completely crossed the blue line, making him offsides.
After the goal was overturned, Pittsburgh, who was being out-shot and out-chanced by Nashville, turned the momentum around and scored three goals before the end of the first period.
Because of how close the play was to being onsides, and how Pittsburgh was able to gain control of the game shortly afterwards, it stirred up the controversy surrounding offsides calls.
Discussion: What changes can be made?
There are people that do not want to see offsides changed at all. If you’re offsides you’re offsides and that is too bad. Whether it was a foot offsides or only a couple inches, that is how the rule goes.
Then there is the opinion that minor tweaks should be made to offsides calls that will still protect teams from being burned by a player that was clearly offsides, but not make the game become tedious and nitpicky.
Rule 83 of the 2016-2017 NHL Official Rule Book states “A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line regardless of the position of his stick.” The term “in contact with” is important because it does not allow a player to have his skate in the air, over the blue line. His skate must be in contact with the blue line to be on-sides.
Here are some potential changes to the offsides rule:
Potentially a combination of these ideas could be implemented in a way that satisfies both sides of the conflict. Video review was originally expanded to offsides calls to prevent goals from being scored on plays that were obviously offsides. It is now being used on some plays to determine the smallest infraction. In many cases this slows down the flow of the game and, as seen in Pittsburgh Monday night, can even go so far as to swing the momentum of a game.
If you have any suggestions for what should or shouldn’t be done with offsides feel free to leave them in the comments below. I am interested in hearing what other possible changes people come up with. As always, you can find me on twitter @jperrigo7. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me there.
Photo credit: (Offsides cartoon)(dreamstime.com)