Hockey 101: Offsides and the Mess It Can Cause


Summer is almost over and school is about to be back in session, but this is no back-to-school lecture. Soon, instead of saying “back to school” we’ll be saying “back to hockey”. Today’s lesson is about the offsides rule. Hopefully this will help you better understand what that call entails and correct the confusion caused by some of the questionable calls from last season. 

In hockey, a play is offside if a player on the attacking team enters the offensive zone (crosses the blueline) before the puck, unless the puck is sent or carried there by an opposing player. When an offside violation occurs, a linesman will stop play. A faceoff is then held at a neutral ice spot closest to the infraction to restart play. Lets take a quick look:

NoVa Caps writer Julia Karron suggested that the NHL’s implementation of the coaches challenge revolves around the denying goals due to the offside rule. You can read that opinion piece here:

This video is from a 2013 game between the Predators and Avalanche. This was an obvious offsides call that should have been made on Matt Duchene but instead no whistle was blown and he got the goal. A familiar face was screaming at the call.

This next video is from a Caps-Flyers tilt that saw Ovechkin get a goal that made him the Russian leading scorer, passing Game 7 hero Sergei Fedorov, or so we thought. Instead the goal was disallowed with Justin Williams coming right on the ice from the bench.

This next video is the Situation Room, which shows a goal in the Blues-Wild game that showed whether the Blues were outside before Ryan Reave’s goal. The call stood as a good goal.

Finally we have an empty net goal here that was disallowed in a game featuring the Islanders and Lightning.

As you can see sometimes it’s hard to tell during a game whether or not a player is offsides. Whether you agree with the calls or not, offsides will always be a part of the fun of the game. Class dismissed.

By Michael Marzzacco

You can check out other installments of our “Hockey 101” series under the Hockey 101 tab on the top menu, or by clicking here:

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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1 Response to Hockey 101: Offsides and the Mess It Can Cause

  1. Pingback: Rules of the Preseason | NoVa Caps

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