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How to fix the NHL's offside challenge craziness

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Please spare us the millimeters.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Let's get this out of the way first: of course this is sour grapes.

The Bruins had a goal taken off the board last night due to an offside challenge, and they ended up losing a one-goal game.

Oddly enough, both of their regulation losses this year have featured goals wiped out by a coach's challenge.

So yeah, of course there's a level of bitterness. However, there's no denying that not many hockey fans think the NHL's current process for reviewing offside calls is a good one.

The rule is pretty much universally panned, mainly because the league sought to address egregious missed calls and instead is using Super Troopers-esque ENHANCE, ENHANCE, ENHANCE digital forensics to take goals away.

The whole genesis of this rule stems from Matt Duchene being about 20 yards offside and scoring a few years ago.

Like the NFL and pass interference, the NHL had an egregiously bad call, and addressed it with replay.

Unlike the NFL, which has been loathe to overturn pass interference calls this season, the NHL took its new replay powers and made the process as painstaking as possible.

Yes, the refs want to get the call right. But there's a difference between being technically right and right enough.

Last night, you could argue that Charlie Coyle had possession and shouldn't have had to worry about offside.

You can also argue that the millimeters that separated his skate from the blue line didn't really have any impact on the play going forward.

Was he offside by the book and with the help of a microscope? Maybe. Was he egregiously offside in the way that the NHL wanted to address?

Not even close.

The league is probably going to continue to tweak this rule, so here are some suggestions for fixing it.

1) All replays must be viewed at full speed.

Referees are human, and should be viewed as such. In some cases, they miss a player being offside by a foot, and should be able to take a look and try to get it right.

However, if a replay needs to be freeze framed, enhanced, analyzed, blown up, studied by a board of its peers, and dissected to show it was offside, it shouldn't matter.

Make the officials review what happened at game speed. If they still can't tell, leave it alone.

2) Coaches have 10 seconds after a goal is scored to issue a challenge.

Mike Babcock did this against the Bruins a few weeks ago, taking his time to let his video team determine if he should challenge.

Viewing a ton of different replays and angles obviously is an advantage, and again goes against the spirit of the whole "egregious" thing.

Once a goal is scored, coaches should have 10 seconds to throw the red flag, so to speak. After that time, no challenges are allowed.

3) Officials have 45 seconds to watch the replays.

The Bruins have had a few of these, where a millimeter offside was analyzed for 5 minutes.

The fans get restless, teams get stiff, we all get bored.

Once the video feed from above is initiated, start a 45-second timer. Once that time expires, the feed cuts out.

4) The offside in question must have occurred no more than 30 seconds before the goal was scored.

This one would be admittedly hard to implement, but the offside reversals that happen after extended possession drive me nuts.

If a team enters the zone, possesses the puck, gets shots, wins battles, etc. THEN scores, leave it alone.

The 2-on-1s with a questionable offside that led directly to a goal make sense; the "45 seconds of possession then a goal" challenges do not.


Your thoughts? Worthy changes, or just sour grapes?