It wasn’t a stellar night for the NHL’s coach’s challenge in Edmonton on Saturday. Which is why Edmonton Oilers star Taylor Hall ripped it, the equipment used for it and, in an instant-classic moment of techno-mutiny, the quality of the Wi-Fi in his own arena.
What set Hall off was a disallowed goal by Teddy Purcell against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period, a goal that Oilers coach Todd McLellan challenged even though he might not have been allowed to. (More on that in a bit.)
The ruling on the ice was that Hall made contact with goalie Calvin Pickard, which allowed Purcell a shot into an open net.
It seemed fairly obvious that Nathan MacKinnon was making contact with Hall, and appeared to drive Hall into Pickard at the top of his crease. That would have negated the goalie interference. But the referees reviewed their work and decided they made the right call.
This left Hall rather frustrated after the game, a 3-2 loss for the Oilers to the Avs.
“I mean, my momentum’s definitely going in there. But just as a whole … I watch a lot of hockey. And this coach’s challenge … it’s tough. You’re asking the referee to admit he’s wrong in front of 18,000 by watching a 6-inch tablet,” said Hall.
“And, I mean, the Wi-Fi in our rink is mediocre at best. So that’s what we’re relying on.”
(Having visited Rexall Place, it’s entirely possible they still use dial-up. We're happy Taylor Hall called it out, Immortan Joe style.)
Hall then walked back his comments just a little, saying that the Oilers have been hurt and have benefitted from a flawed system.
“It’s been both ways. Certainly, we’ve been on the other side. And this isn’t a shot at the refs at all. I don’t envy them having to make that decision,” he said.
In the end, however, Hall believes what many have started to believe when it comes to the coach’s challenge: All due respect to the referees and the fact that a subjective call should probably remain in the hands of the person who makes it, but there’s strong logic in sending the coach’s challenge review to the NHL War Room for final say.
“I feel like we’d be better served if this went to a third party. There has to be some kind of mediator here. It’s not in our nature to admit we’re wrong,” he said.
“It goes both ways. I’m not going to sit here and pout because I’ve had some goals taken away. It’s frustrating, no doubt. But I feel like there’s a better way to get it right.”
Here's Hall's interview:
When coach Todd McLellan was told that Hall expressed frustration over the review system, McLellan said “he should” do so.
But the coach had another issue: "We were allowed a review call, and I don’t know why we were allowed it. If there was a penalty and we touched the puck it’s a dead play.”
Like we said, not the greatest night for the coach’s challenge. Hall was given a goalie interference penalty on the play. In theory, the play is over before the puck goes in.
“If they were going to review it, they’d clearly see that Taylor was pushed into the goaltender,” said McLellan.
Did it cost the Oilers a point? Potentially. It would have cut the lead to 3-2 well before Benoit Pouliot’s goal did at 18:19.
But that’s OK, said Hall.
“We’re not in the thick of a playoff race. If we were, I’d probably be a bit more mad,” said Hall.
Now that’s the standard of leadership we’ve come to expect from the core they’ve built in Edmonton!
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