Monday, May 20, 2024

Matt Duchene's OT controversy was a message from the hockey gods to ditch replay

The symmetry was almost perfect.

In the history of the NHL’s foray into the world of replay review, there are two moments that stand out as crucial landmarks, the key signposts that pointed us towards where we wound up. The most recent came in 2013, when Colorado center Matt Duchene scored a goal despite being roughly a mile offside.

The play is, to this day, widely misunderstood. The linesman didn’t somehow miss the fact that Duchene was offside; rather, he thought that the Predators had directed the puck back into their own zone, which would negate an offside call. But the optics were terrible. Everything about the play looked wrong, up to and including Duchene’s muted celebration. He knew he’d gotten away with one, as did everyone watching. And eventualy, the confusion and frustration of such an obvious missed call coalesced around a seemingly easy solution: Why don’t we have replay review for these plays?

And now we do, and it’s awful, but hold that thought. Because for the other key moment, we have to go back even further. Now it’s the 1999 Stanley Cup final, and we’re in triple-overtime of Game 6. With the Sabres fighting to extend the series, Dallas star Brett Hull collects a rebound and scores the Cup winner.

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