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The Weak In Review

The Stanley Cup Final did not get through one period before the series was besmirched by a really terrible challenge review and reversed call.

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The disallowed goal: “Don’t worry Penguins; I’m here to save you.”

It may be hard to argue that the outcome of Game 1 would be any different without P.K. Subban’s  would-be goal being overturned after Pittsburgh’s challenge, but we’ll never know for sure–and that’s a really bad look considering that Nashville is already a decided underdog in this series.

Penguins fans will naturally argue that Nashville’s Filip Forsberg was offside on the Preds’ scoring play, just as Nashville’s partisans will undoubtedly argue the contrary. Having seen the replays shown by NBC, I can not definitively say whether or not Forsberg’s toe was on the ice or not before the puck entered the offensive zone. It may be that, technically, the Preds were offside and the goal should not have counted.

There’s just one problem with that: nobody “technically” wins the Cup. You have to actually earn it.

Please explain to me: what real advantage did Forsberg and Nashville gain if his skate was off the ice a few milliseconds before the puck completely crossed the blue line? There’ s no way that that difference, one way or the other, materially changed the course of play after the Predators entered the zone. Nothing else that happened leading up to Subban’s shot was altered by Forsberg’s positioning–a move that was instantly and emphatically called good by the linesman on the spot.

To have a team like the Penguins get beat on a play like that, and then try to “lawyer” their way out of it on something as chintzy as that alleged offside, is a terrible look. If there’s an egregiously bad call that needs to be overturned, by all means, challenge it and let’s get it right. But that play? It’s weak. It’s gutless. It’s downright cowardly to try to cover your ass for not making the defensive play by getting someone who’s cuddling up to a monitor to lend you an (undeserved) hand.

And it doesn’t help that, in this matchup of small-market teams, the NHL would clearly prefer the narrative of the Penguins repeating as champions versus the Cup spending a summer around a “nontraditional” market like Nashville.

That sort of replay reversal doesn’t just change the call on the ice from “Good goal” to “Offside.” It also changes the “calls” in living rooms around the country to “Rig! Fix! Fraud!”

Get rid of this nonsense. Just play the damn game.


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