Thoughts on Reactions to Offsides Review

I didn’t watch any of Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals last night but as I caught up with the news via Twitter this morning, I was completely unsurprised to see the media complaining about offsides review.

P.K. Subban appeared to score a goal for the Nashville Predators but, upon video review, the play was determined to be offsides.  Whether or not that determination was accurate can be debated, as is the case with most close video reviews.

The thing that I find interesting about this is that the cry is almost universally for the NHL to stop reviewing offsides.  That human error is okay every now and then if it leads to more scoring.  Oh, there are some who suggest a different offsides rule – such as one where a player’s skate is allowed to be over the blue line rather than on the ice, which I agree with – but those suggestions seem to be in the minority.

These takes are difficult for me to reconcile with the acceptance of horrible goaltender interference calls against Tomas Holmstrom just ten years ago.

I mean, there were no calls for rule changes based on the goals that were called back in October of 2007 or February of 2008 or May of 2008.

The idea that human error taking goals off the board just had to be accepted, while today we talk about human error putting goals on the board being embraced, is just too much dissonance for me.

I admit that there’s a little bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison here, as, unlike ten years ago, there is now the ability to challenge a goalie interference call in addition to the offsides challenges.  That doesn’t change the fact that so many call for a fix to today’s supposed problem while having remained silent then.

Red Wings Sign Defenseman Libor Sulak

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Wednesday the signing of Czech defenseman Libor Sulak.

Sulak was slated to play for the Pelicans of the Finnish Elite League next season.

For the past two seasons, Sulak has played for Orli Znojmo of the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.  In 2016 he was the league’s rookie of the year.  He played for Czechia – alongside Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek – at the just-completed 2017 IIHF World Championships.

The move gives the Red Wings 14 defensemen who are either already signed or are restricted free agents headed into this summer.  Some, such as prospect Dennis Cholowski, will almost certainly spend next season with their junior clubs.  However, it’s safe to assume that the Grand Rapids Griffins will add some veteran defensemen on AHL-only deals, meaning that blueline roster spots throughout the organization will be at a premium.

Sulak’s contract is a two-year entry level deal.

Update, 3:25 PM: Apparently Sulak’s deal with the Pelicans means he will either play there or with Detroit next year, not with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.  I have to think him making the Detroit roster comes at the expense of one of Nick Jensen, Xavier Ouellet, or Ryan Sproul, who likely wouldn’t make it through waivers to the Griffins, so this signing wouldn’t impact the roster spot crunch as much as it originally seemed.

Wings Sign Czech Goalie Machovsky

The Detroit Red Wings signed Czech goalie Matej Machovsky to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

Machovsky skated with the Red Wings at their 2016 Development Camp in Traverse City, so he’s a bit of a known quantity to the organization.

On one hand, the move seemingly comes out of nowhere, as Machovsky left the Ontario Hockey League four years ago and has been playing in Czechia ever since.  At 23 years old (24 by the time the season starts) he’s not exactly a traditional prospect.

That said, the Red Wings’ goaltending pipeline is a mess.  They have to hope they’re able to unload Jimmy Howard (and his contract) this summer  without taking on another NHL-level goalie so they can go with a tandem of Petr Mrazek and Jared Coreau next season.  Eddie Pasquale is a free agent.  Cal Heeter is as well, and was never signed to an NHL deal anyway.  Jake Paterson hasn’t been able to break into the AHL, let alone look NHL-ready, and is a restricted free agent this summer.  Chase Perry and Filip Larsson simply aren’t ready.  Maybe Joren van Pottlebergh could make the jump.

This at least gives them a body going into the summer, a bit of depth to work with.  Is it a sign that a deal for Howard is coming?  Does Machovsky leapfrog Coreau on the depth chart?  I have no idea.

It is worth noting that Machovsky will be exempt from the waiver draft.  Maybe the Wings think Coreau will get claimed and this is a move to replace him.  Again, I don’t know.

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