When the NHL introduced coaches challenges at the start of the season, it was done to make sure correct calls are being made and too eliminate controversy. With that comes goals being taken off the board in a league that is currently seeing scoring fall towards record lows.
For the Buffalo Sabres, the challenges haven’t been too kind to them during the early part of the season. There have been three instances where a Buffalo goal was challenged, and all three have been wiped from the board. Of the three overturned goals, two of them would’ve resulted in the game being tied.
Evander Kane’s tally on opening night against Ottawa would’ve made it 2-2 late in the third, but it was called back because Zemgus Girgensons was deemed to be offside. Buffalo ultimately lost that game 3-1. Against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, Sam Reinhart scored to seemingly tie the game at two late in the third, but Tyler Ennis was the one offside this time around. Once again, the Sabres would lose 3-1.
But despite the fact that it’s hurting his club, head coach Dan Bylsma is happy that the league is working to make things right.
“It hurts not to get the goals that we put in the back of the net, but it’s the right call,” he said after his team’s loss to the Stars. “I like the fact that we’re getting it right.
“Even though it’s disappointing that it’s hurt us three times, I’m glad they’re getting it right.”
For the players, they don’t like to see goals called back by any means, but they understand it’s about getting the calls correct over anything else. Nevertheless, it’s still upsetting when it becomes part of the reason why your team lost a game.
“This time it cost us the game, so it’s frustrating,” Tyler Ennis said. “I’ve got to stay onsides”
He added that the rule has been around for a “long time”, and that he should probably understand it a bit more than he apparently does.
Reinhart, whose goal was taken away because of the challenge, didn’t believe that the call was the reason we lost. He stated that the team had time to get another goal, including powerplay time. To blame a loss solely on that one play isn’t the right thing to do, but it was definitely a part of it.
It may look bleak right now when it comes to challenges and the Buffalo Sabres, but it’s only a matter of time before the reviews start going in favor of the team. It’s just a matter of when.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.