Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Technology Could Help

When high-definition television graced the marketplace and was actually cheap enough for the middle class to afford, it changed the way we watched television in a big way. Gone were the square TVs at that point due to high-definition's widescreen resolution, and we began to see improvements being made on the TVs in terms of size and clarity. Today, a research team at the University of Central Florida announced that they have discovered how to activate subpixels on LCD TVs so that each pixel becomes three pixels, thereby potentially tripling the resolution of LCD TVs!

Now you might be asking why HBIC suddenly is so excited for higher-resolution TV. Sports has already seen incredible improvements thanks to high-definition television and broadcasts, so getting better resolution will only help further, especially when considering the topic of video replay and determining off-sides. I assume you know where this is going.

On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins challenged a goal scored against them after they believed that Nashville's Filip Forsberg was off-side after PK Subban scored. Here's the video replay and the explanation from the NHL's Situation Room.
Yes, it happened fast. Yes, the resolution of the video is terrible. Yes, the goal was called back as the officials felt that Forsberg was off-side. I personally believe that Forsberg's right skate is off the ice before the puck is fully across the blue line which is the rationale that the NHL's Situation Room gave in calling the goal back. But the debate that started immediately after the call was whether or not the NHL and its officials got it right.

Here's the moment in question in the sequence of events.
To me, there's no question that his right skate has left the ice. Forsberg's thought is to receive the puck, turn with possession, and skate down the wall. He does this, but his turn is a second too early. If you've ever skated or power-skated, the cross-cut that Forsberg does as he enters the zone would mean that he was lifting his skate to generate power in an effort to skate down the wall. He didn't turn his body; rather, he cross-cut over the line to generate power and speed in an effort to attack. In my view, Filip Forsberg was off-side.

Of course, you may disagree. In fact, many have and many most likely will. However, if we had better resolution to see across the ice clearly, this entire debate may be moot. Gary Bettman, at his state-of-the-union address prior to Game One, stated that the NHL is happy with how the reviews and challenges have gone. Looking at the image of Forsberg above, I'm not certain that those tasked with making these calls would agree when it comes to a grainy image. If we can put high-definition cameras all over the rink, why isn't there one at the blue line?

In any case, the team at UCF's NanoScience Technology Center may find themselves as recipients of an endowment by the NHL if their work proves to improve picture quality. It would kill most debates and make for shorter reviews if the officials can clearly see what happened. Suddenly, it would only take a minute to determine what happened on a play, and fans both in the stands and at home would nod in agreement because there would be a clear replay of the play.

Wouldn't that be something?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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