SAN JOSE – In order to enhance the review process for offside challenges, the NHL installed blue line cameras at beginning of last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. They are now standard in every building.
But that didn’t prevent an obnoxiously long delay from occurring in the Sharks-Blue Jackets game on Thursday in San Jose, when Brenden Dillon’s apparent goal at 6:09 of the third period was waived off after a coach's challenge. After approximately seven minutes, and with the fans clearly perturbed, it was finally concluded that Chris Tierney’s skate was about an inch off the ice when Patrick Marleau brought it over the blue line.
The whole process seemed disjointed. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said: “the on-ice officials told me they didn’t have the same angles that the NHL did, so it obviously went to the [Toronto war room], and they had some different angles.”
Dillon also said one of the linesmen told him that they “couldn’t really tell” if the play was offside, but “Toronto was helping us out.”
It’s up for debate whether reviewing an offside that close violates the spirit of the rule, which was originally intended to prevent any egregious mistakes from going unnoticed and affecting the outcome. What isn’t up for debate, at least in Dillon’s mind, is that the length of time it took the referees and Toronto war room was unacceptable.
Dillon would like to see a time limit imposed on the process.
“Whether it’s a five-minute window, if we can’t find enough evidence in that five minutes, or three minutes, which would be more preferable for us players instead of having our goalie sitting around,” he said. “I think Columbus’ next shift after that, [after Blue Jackets coach John] Tortorella is yelling at them for eight minutes, they come out buzzing and flying and almost scored one.”
DeBoer wasn’t nearly as frustrated as his defenseman, though, either after the game or after Friday’s practice. The Sharks hung on and beat the Blue Jackets, 3-1.
“That’s for bigger and smarter people than me to discuss,” DeBoer said of the rule. “Obviously last night is an example of, do we want to spend time on that, or don’t we?
“I think you want the same playing field for everybody. Right now the mandate is to get it right, regardless of how long it takes or how many cameras we have to put in. If that changes, then as long as it’s the same for everybody, we’re good with that.”
According to the coach, the officials did ultimately get the call right.
“When I looked at it today it was the right call,” DeBoer said. “Unfortunately, it went against us.”