NHL accused of rigging games for Connor McDavid?

Is the NHL in on the fix?

Jonathan Larivee

The latest chapter in the Battle of Alberta between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames has been written, and as far as the history books are concerned the Edmonton Oilers will be the ones who emerge the victors in this particular installment of the rivalry. The Oilers defeated the Flames in their second round Stanley Cup playoff series by closing out Game 5 of the series by a score of 5 - 4 and taking the overall series 4 - 1.

The result however has not come without controversy, with many pointing to a call made by the officials during the course of the game that might have had a major impact on the outcome of the series. The controversy has been so loud in fact that one outlet is going so far as to tease the idea that the National Hockey League may have rigged the series in favor of one of its biggest stars, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Recently Deadspin published an article with the headline "Is the NHL now rigging games for Connor McDavid?" which is followed by a subhead that reads "After last night’s Oilers win, it sure seems that way."

While the article makes it clear that they don't have the evidence necessary to make such an outlandish claim, they certainly leave open the possibility that the NHL was in on the fix in Game 5. The evidence for such a claim? A controversial call that would come off the back of a Blake Coleman goal, one that would have been a go ahead goal for the Flames in what would prove to be the final game of the series.

The officials on the ice determined that Coleman had, intentionally, kicked the puck into the net and as a result disallowed the goal. According to NHL insider Frank Seravalli, it was this replay in particular that sold the kick to NHL officials.

Seravalli himself acknowledges that there's plenty of debate to be had about the call, and that has certainly been the case judging by the fallout surrounding Game 5. That being said it is hardly the most egregious call we have seen officials in the NHL make, even under video review, and I'm going to need a lot more than this to believe that the NHL is rigging games.