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Better Know: Refs Make the Right Call in Winnipeg

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Early in Sunday's loss to Winnipeg, Mike Yeo used his first challenge of the season and lost. Let's take a look at the offside rule and why Yeo wasted his challenge.

Suter kneels in awe of Ladd's knowledge of the NHL Rule Book
Suter kneels in awe of Ladd's knowledge of the NHL Rule Book
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the loss to Winnipeg, Kuemper allowed 2 goals on the first four shots from the Jets. The second of these (a wrist shot from Andrew Ladd to give the Jets the lead 2-1) had some controversy about it. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo used his first coach's challenge of the year, believing the Jets were offside and the goal should not have counted. Wild fans took hope in this screenshot:

believing it to be proof that the Wild were offside. A gander at the Official NHL Rulebook should clear this right up (how complex could offsides be?)

Oh. Oh my. It's a 223-page behemoth. If you look at page 120, you'll find the section regarding offside, which reads as follows:

Rule 83 - Off-side 83.1 Off-side - Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone.

The position of the player's skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.

A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leadingedge of the blueline regardless of the position of his stick. However, a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered "off-side," provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line.

It should be noted that while the position of the player's skates is what determines whether a player is "off-side," nevertheless the question of an "off-side" never arises until the puck has completely crossed the leading edge of the blueline at which time the decision is to be made.

If a player legally carries or passes the puck back into his own defending zone while a player of the opposing team is in such defending zone, the off-side shall be ignored and play permitted to continue.

Some fans will focus in on "Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone." and the screen shot above shows pretty clearly that the attacking player did precede the puck into the zone. However, the rule goes on to state "a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered "off-side," provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line." This effectively means that any player controlling the puck cannot be offside. A player could conceivable skate backwards, with his stick full extended but maintaining control, and still be onside.

The Wild rightfully lost the challenge, and the rest is history. The Wild certainly have been burned by bad calls, but this was not one of them.