Monday, February 22, 2016

Video: Torts Says Get Rid of Coaches Challenge

Hot under the collar after a win? Yes! And Why not? On Monday during Columbus' 6-4 win over the Bruins in Boston, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was miffed about blowing a timeout on a challenge that he vehemently believed would pay off for his team. When referees ruled that Loui Eriksson's skate did not interfere with Joonas Korpisalo on Boston's first period tally, Torts became disillusioned with the system that has drawn mixed reviews throughout its inaugural season. He aired out his frustration after the game.

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Here's a look at the goal:

"Just get rid of it," Tortorella said of the coaches challenge. "The whole being of the coaches challenge it to get it right. If we can't get it right on that call then let's get rid of it. Because all I did was waste a timeout. It's discouraging. That is a no-brainer call."

The frustration is understandable, hockey is a passionate game and there's a winner and loser to every call. But there is a hole in Tortorella's theory about this particular play: The refs got it right.

It's just too difficult to tell if Eriksson is interfering with Korpisalo and keeping him from extending his pad to try and make a play on that bouncing puck. Torey Krug's shot is deflected by a defender in the slot and ends up bouncing off the ice and caroming off course. After that there's just too much chaos. It's nearly impossible to tell if Korpsisalo is being obstructed or if he is simply just caught out of position by a crazy bounce. Referees need something conclusive to overturn a call. On this play there was just too much grey area.

Still, Tortorella's experience left him decidedly downbeat about the NHL's fledgling plan, which allows NHL coaches to challenge goals based on whether a play was offside or if there was goalie interference.

"If they vote again for it--no coaches challenge as far as this organization is concerned," he said. "We should just get rid of it, and let the refs make the call, because if we spend two or three minutes and a coach wastes his timeout to try and get the call right, and we still get it wrong? Why have it? I wanted my timeout back, quite honestly."

Columbus won tonight's game 6-4 at TD Garden, which left Tortorella in a far less cantankerous mood than he otherwise might have been.

"I respect the referees," he added. "It is a really tough job. But I thought [the coaches challenge] was for that reason, to make their job easier. It gives them a chance to look at it again, get some information from hockey ops. To get that one wrong it's just beyond belief to me.

It's a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Get rid of it, and let's just get back to where we were before."