The people in charge can blow it up.
Referees, umpires, scorekeepers, clock operators – people we assume will be given the right test can miss work.
This is human nature, so more and more sports technologies are trying to change the wrong people.
Or, in most cases, using technology to make sure some serious call is appropriate.
The problem, and it totally amazes me, is that various game running suits may decide that this call can be reviewed (and canceled if necessary), but it can’t call.
No matter how serious some mistakes are, mistakes should remain.
I mean, if you want to get the right calls, it has to apply to everything.
In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, last Wednesday night, came the latest screw-up to be remembered for years.
If you’re a fan of hockey, you probably know that Tampa Bay Lightning is really trying to achieve a tough feat – winning the third cup in a row.
In the now-infamous Game 4 overtime, Tampa beat Colorado 2-1 by one to tie at Tampa’s Amelie Arena.
Finally, at the 12-minute mark in the OT, Colorado’s Nazem Qadri gave the avalanche something close to the neck of the series by firing on a dramatic victory.
There were a lot of men on the ice in Colorado.
Not only that, but Qadri was an extra man – for whom a two-minute avalanche penalty should have been assessed.
Watching the replay, it is almost beyond belief that none of the four officers on the ice saw the violation.
Yes, while hockey is constantly changing, it is common for a player to take one last step to the bench while the game is on.
This is part of the game, as long as the player releasing the ice does not touch the puck or interrupt the game.
But on this occasion, Nathan McKinnon of Colorado – left for Cadre – was 42 feet off the bench.
It was a clear penalty.
In addition to the officials on the ice, the NHL has a “war room” at the league’s headquarters in Toronto.
We have a habit of reviewing baseball and football decisions in New York, and this is exactly the same principle.
The hockey review team watches the game from all angles and goals can be denied for distracting the puck into the net, using goaltender for goaltender interference and all sorts of other questionable issues.
No one can explain the reasons …
Having too many men on the ice when you score a goal can’t be reviewed in Toronto.
Why not, exactly?
The NHL has to be embarrassed at the moment (although Tampa Bay extended the debate by closing the series deficit with a 3-2 win on Friday night).
It is a ridiculous argument to review (or not) what exactly is being played in each game.
If you have the whole idea of getting all the calls right, review everything – subject to a certain number of coaching challenges, and so on.
The idea that some things should never come up in the “war room” is a gift from the NFL, which has gone back and forth over two seasons on the issue of pass interference.
The explicit intervention forced the league to make the pass intervention reviewable.
But a year later, so close calls were challenged – plays that could go either way – that the NFL switched back to letting the zebras on the field decide every pass intervention call.
Major League Baseball, meanwhile, will review almost everything, except …
Ball and strike, the most subjective decision in the game.
It’s not that the MLB has trusted its umpires, as robot-amp calling pitches are currently being experimented with.
See, the whole point here comes down to whether or not you like the good old days, when a big mistake can be made by a ref or umpire.
Or you want to slow down the games, put every nearby play somewhere on the hundred screens in the war room, but
Don’t interfere in the NFL during the Stanley Cup finals or touch too many men on the ice.
I’m sorry, but we can’t have it either way.
Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Space” columns appear in the press three times a week. He also writes Zags Tracker, a commentary on Gonzaga Basketball which is published monthly during the offseason and starts weekly in October.
Steve suggests that you take his opinion in the spirit of Jimmy Buffett’s song: “Breathe in, breathe out, move on.”