Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche
In yesterday’s afternoon game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Nashville Predators, Matt Duchene scored a sick breakaway goal, and he only needed to be eleven feet offside to make it happen. I mean, nobody, not one person anywhere is under the impression the play was remotely onside, which in itself is kind of hilarious. “Well, we all agree that was clearly an illegal goal, but because of the way the rules are written, we’re not allowed to use common sense and overturn it.”

Anyway, the Avs ended up winning by one, which was a neat way to add insult to injury. Six goals to five goals…hey, if you subtract the one that shouldn’t count from the Avs, then the game would’ve oooOOOhhhh I see why Nashville is upset.

Let’s break it down, shall we? Here it is in real time:

We start off with David Legwand having possession of the puck in the corner, with four Predators basically at the faceoff dot or below (they all appear to be forwards too, if I’m not mistaken, so I’m assuming it was just after a powerplay). He decides to cycle the puck.

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But he does so extremely hard, so he likely thought someone was open on the far side of the ice, or at the very least behind the net. The puck rims hard around the boards, bypassing all the Predators forwards.

Parenteau recognizes this, and heads to grab the puck.

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As the puck is coming around the boards, Matt Duchene, ever the smart offensive player that he is, recognizes that a lot of the Preds are caught deep, and that his guy is going to get to the puck first.

Maybe he’ll get a breakaway!

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The Predators high forward, Craig Smith, sees this unfolding, and realizes he should head back to help on the streaking Duchene.

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Parenteau gets to it, and tries the Hail Mary. (The “Hail Mary” is becoming more common in hockey – you trust your teammate’s athleticism, so you can fire a puck at him neck height – or just flip it deep – to avoid any defenders, and he can just grab it and put it down.)

Unfortunately for the Avs, Scott Hannan has read Duchene’s attempt to get in unmolested, and has pulled back to stop the pass. Smith has got back in time too. The window of offensive opportunity, she has closed.

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Nice recovery, Preds. Now Duchene is off in no man’s land and…crap they didn’t catch the puck, they just knocked it down. Not that it matters. Duchene has already gone well offside, so let’s get a line change and carry on.

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Yep. Who’s line is up next?

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Erat, it’s you guys, yeah?

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Okay, Erat, you guys go.

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At this point, Matt Duchene is full-on deflated.

Bah. Coulda had him if Parenteau had just gone off the boards. Or maybe I shouldn’t have left so soon and showed my hand. Ah, yeah, that’s probably it. Just timed it poorly.

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Like a kid playing with a puck while coach is talking during practice, Duchene is basically going to mindlessly grab the thing, if for any reason at all just to demonstrate how close he was to getting a clean breakaway.

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And then we see the first glimpses of realization – “wait has anyone heard a whistle yet? ‘Play to the whistle right?’ I might as well take this thing and do something with it and let them sort it out later.” Look how upright he is above. He’s just about to come out of “dammit, almost had it” mode.

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And just like that, Matt Duchene has what they refer to in football as a “free play” when the defense has already gone offside, so the quarterback can take a shot downfield without the threat of an interception standing. Might as well go for it at this point.

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Combine Duchene’s casual snipe with Chris Mason not being all that great (not that he’s to fault here), and boom, the puck’s in the back of the net. I mean, Duchene himself seems confused. I guess I’ll just tuck this under the bar, then?

I think the best part might be when he celebrates the goal…

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Then immediately realizes that mayyyybe he shouldn’t make a scene, and puts his hands down in about 0.5 seconds.

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Meanwhile, Craig Smith is giving the universal symbol for “Whoa whoa whoa let’s settle down and talk here what the f*** just happened.”

Duchene’s quote to The Tennesean: “I was 100 percent offside.”

My initial thought was that maybe the linesman thought Nashville brought the puck back into their zone themselves, in which case an opposing player could play the puck without clearing the zone, which might have been the case. If it was, though, it’s just as hilariously wrong as missing that offside call would’ve been.

How could this possibly have happened?

Here’s a few Bob McKenzie tweets on the situation:

So yeah. It seems like the liney whiffed pretty bad on the call either way. Everyone I’ve talked to about the situation suspects that he’ll be suspended for a couple games, though we’ll never hear anything about it publicly because, y’know, refs are infallible and all that.

But hey, credit to Duchene for playing to the whistle, and it’s tough to get too upset at a loss when you give up five legit goals during a game. (…Okay, the Preds are allowed to be a little pissed. That was a bit of a hose job.)

If anything good came from this, it’s that it helped me complete my parlay on Monday. And I think we can all agree that’s what’s really important here.