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NHL’s signature event has now been ruined by instant replay

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As sports continue to apply unintended replay rules, episodes in which games are altered radically by the unintended grow. Yet the powers that rule sit and stare, as if in denial, not interested in fixing what so clearly escaped logic and foresight.

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I would challenge Gary Bettman to review with us the replay-rule application that totally changed Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, then claim that this was what the NHL had in mind when it added more replay. We need him to tell us he is good with what took place.

With the score 0-0 and 13:03 left in the first period, the Predators entered the Penguins’ zone after Filip Forsberg took a pass at the near-boards blue line. Four passes, two puck-scrambles and 16 seconds later, Nashville’s P. K. Subban scored.

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“Nashville,” cried Doc Emrick, “strikes first!”

But hold the phone. Pittsburgh challenged, claiming — hoping, wishing — that four passes, 16 seconds, two puck-scrambles and one goal later, Nashville had entered offside.

The game then was unplugged as NBC showed a collection of replays in slow motion and freeze-frame, proving only that this was a very close non-call, the kind that shouldn’t be overturned for absence of overwhelming evidence.

NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk reached the studied conclusion that the goal should stand, though he did not address the part about the play having continued for a significant amount of time, which included significant action, before the score, thus here we were, again, in a Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine review.

Well, one man’s guess, in this case, is not as good as another’s. The goal was wiped out and 16 seconds were put back on the clock as if they never had happened.

There is an upside. Had a player broken his leg during those 16 seconds, it would not have counted.



If Bettman and the NHL disagree — if what happened Monday in Pittsburgh is what they had in mind — they will sustain this nonsense next season. We will know then. They are not going to flat-out admit an error so devoid of foresight.

And to think that the NCAA, its Division I basketball games already grinding to repeated, lengthy stops in the last two minutes of regulation for refs to stare at TV monitors, has added more reasons to use replay in those final two minutes. Yeah! Let’s keep suffocating games with replay!

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