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The Bruins made a serious mess of the coach’s challenge tonight

Don’t challenge, then challenge. Both instances were the wrong decision.

NESN Screengrab

The offside challenge!

Love it or hate it, it appears to be here to stay. Bruins fans have found themselves on the wrong side of several challenges, but have also had a few go there way in recent months.

This year saw a new wrinkle added to the mix: a minor penalty would be given to a team that unsuccessfully challenged an offside call.

This wrinkle has made some teams more hesitant to “throw the red flag,” so to speak, and that hesitation appeared to come back and bite the Bruins tonight.

In the second, the Bruins had a 2-0 lead and were struggling to hold off the surging Caps when Lars Eller cut the lead in half with a fluttering wrister that beat Anton Khudobin from the high slot.

Immediately following the goal, Andy Brickley and Jack Edwards began commenting on NESN about how the play looked like it may have been offside.

They got a couple replays in and seemed convinced the Bruins were going to challenge, when all of a sudden they just...didn’t.

The play in question:

Alright, fine: maybe the Bruins decided that it wasn’t worth the gamble at that point, as giving the Caps a PP after they just cut the lead in half might not have been the best idea.

“These Bruins are being careful,” you think. “That’s fine.”

And then they go and challenge this one, late in the third:


I went a grabbed a frame out of that highlight to show you the closest the puck came to going back outside the blue line:


Yikes. And THAT’S the play the Bruins decide to challenge?

You could argue, I guess, that they decided this was a bigger spot: the Caps had just scored to tie the game at 3-3, so it was worth it to roll the dice.

The flip side, of course, is that being wrong is even more catastrophic here than it would have been in the second period.

As you may have guessed, the Bruins lost the challenge on the Brett Connolly goal and got a penalty.

They killed it off, but it effectively killed any real chance they had to come out and have a strong shift after giving up the goal.

Cassidy and the coaching staff deciding to challenge that goal hurts even more because it looks like the Eller goal would have, in fact, been called back.

From the first highlight, zoomed in a bit:


The puck is still touching the blue paint, and the player at the top of the screen’s right skate is off the ice, also known as...offside.

Ultimately, these challenges/lack of challenges didn’t lose the Bruins the game. However, the use of the coach’s challenge tonight is enough to cause some headaches for fans.

Ideally, Cassidy and Co. learn from this experience and aren’t as hesitant to use the challenge in the future.


Thoughts on the challenges tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    They blew it.
    (269 votes)
  • 10%
    1st one wouldn’t have been overturned.
    (40 votes)
  • 21%
    Ban the offside challenge.
    (84 votes)
393 votes total Vote Now

Thanks to Chris (@CrzyCanucklehed) for the videos.