Overturned Goal Sparks NHL Replay Controversy

Posted at 10:41 PM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 23:41:30-04

When P.K. Subban's slap shot found it's way past Matt Murray Monday night it looked for a brief moment like Nashville had stuck first in the Stanley Cup Final.

But upon further review: no goal.

Replay review overturned the goal for an apparent offsides by Filip Forsberg long before he gathered a loose puck in the zone and shoveled it to Subban for the goal.

"I don't know the explanation for why that's offside," Subban said after the game. "I thought he had complete possession of it, but I don't make those decisions."

The decision from NHL operations in Toronto read as such, "After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, NHL Hockey Operations staff determined Forsberg preceded the puck into the attacking zone, nor did he have possession or control before crossing the blue line."

According to rule 78.7 that was good enough to overturn a 1-0 Predators' lead. Though, even the most casual observer would be hard pressed to be convinced.

This was the NHL equivalent to the NFL's, "was it a catch?" controversy. It was difficult to establish whether Forsberg's skate blade was on the ice or if he had complete possession.

"When you look at the video, it could easily go either way," Forsberg said Tuesday. "You could easily call it a goal and you could easily call it no goal as well."

And he's right. Two different people could have looked at the same replays and concluded two different things Monday night. But, when its that close, don't you have to let the call on the ice stand?

This could not have been what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had in mind for his game's biggest stage when he vehemently defended the success of the replay system shortly before game one.

"We hear the commentary, 'Well, it was just offsides by a little bit,'" Bettman said to the NHL media, practically foreshadowing what was to come on the ice mere feet away in just a short time. "The fact of the matter is it's our job to make sure the rules are complied with and the video replay has worked exactly as we hoped it would."

This 4:00 review was anything but conclusive, however. What was clear was the impact the disallowed goal had on game one.

The Penguins reeling off three goals in a 4:00 span shortly after the ruling against a stunned Predators team.

"The impact of the moment and the course of the events that happened after that, I think changed the course of the game," Laviolette said after game one.

It certainly changed the course of the first period. And while the Predators rallied back to tie the game in the third period, they ultimately lost.

And the NHL once again has to answer questions about it's replay system.

It was on display Monday night on the game's biggest stage, and it left a little something to be desired.