Connor McDavid has seen enough, saying the coach’s challenge that overturns goals for offside calls has to go.
The Oilers (18-23-3), who are nine points off pace for a playoff seed after 44 games, appeared close to securing a point when Mark Letestu scored to apparently tie the game at 14:56 of the third period. But the Predators challenged the goal, and the on-ice officials ruled that Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira‘s left skate was off the ice in the neutral zone as he entered the attacking zone ahead of the puck carrier.
He was inches offside, but offside nonetheless, and thus no goal.
“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,” McDavid said.
The NHL instituted coach’s challenges for offside plays and goalie interference in 2015, with the league saying it should be used for “egregious plays” and not “close calls where it’s 50-50.”
The inspiration for the offside reviews was an incident in a 2013 game when Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene appeared several feet offside on a goal scored by his team. However, the rule has gone from snuffing out egregious offside calls to having linesmen count pixels between skate blades and the ice on tablet screens.
McDavid, the NHL’s reigning MVP, is the most prominent player to say that the offside review should be eliminated.
“Ultimately, I feel as though they should just take the rule out,” McDavid said. “The number of calls that are a millimeter offside, 45 seconds before the play, it doesn’t have very much of an effect on the goal itself. I think the fans want to see offense. If that’s going to hold back from offense, it’s obviously frustrating.”
There will be discussion about a tweak of the offside review at the NHL general managers meetings in March, potentially allowing plays involving a skate in the air to be ruled legal. This was discussed, but no action was taken on it, during the 2017 meetings.
McDavid is well aware that, for every team getting the short end on these reviews, there’s a team benefiting from them.
“If we were on the other side, we’d obviously love the rule,” McDavid said.