March 17, 2011
No one wants to slow the game of hockey down to the annoying skipping-record pace of the National Football League, which is nearly unwatchable as an in-stadium experience thanks to the preposterous number of timeouts. (Hence the numbing necessity of tailgating.)
Video reviews play their part in interrupting the action for long periods of time, as the referee can take 5-10 minutes under his curtain to hear which team the NFL would like the call to benefit see multiple angles of the play.
But we'll tolerate it for the most part, because in the end it's about getting the call correct.
There's a certain amount of tolerable human error we assume we'll see each game from the officials. The ability for the coaches or the league to correct some of those errors through video review can only be good thing, so long as it isn't abused.
As Leahy wrote on Wednesday, the NHL's general managers discussed expansion of video review in the last day of their meetings in Florida. While there's support to expand it in the NHL, the reluctance to apply it -- in a limited way -- in common sense situations is baffling.
According to Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com, replay could be at the forefront of the GM meetings during the Stanley Cup Final:
For many, there is a clear mandate to get the scope of video review widened. Presently, replay only can be used to determine the legality of goals. However, there were suggestions that it be used for other issues, specifically including four-minute high-sticking penalties. Some suggested the inclusion of pucks off the protective netting, goalie interference and offside as reviewable events.
"There's a sense the GMs want to get it right and that would mean adding some of the situations that are reviewable," said Toronto GM Brian Burke. "Right now video review is only applied in a very narrow set of circumstances. I think there's a couple of guys who would like to see that expanded.
"I worry about what that does to the time of the game, I worry about how far back in time a review is allowed to go, I worry about the different camera angles in different buildings. I think the GMs are going to make that case in memo form and we'll consider it."
Because, you know, the lack of sufficient camera angles prevented the NHL from instituting video reviews for disputed goals. Wait, it did no such thing? Our mistake …
It appears the biggest issue to be worked out is whether a video review would be triggered by referees, a coach's challenge or automatically with every double minor for high-sticking assessed.
The coach's challenge was quickly shot down back in November when Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon put it on the agenda, but seemed to find a little more support here. Some of his colleagues are starting to see a place for it.
"I don't think it can be broad-based, I think it does have to be fairly narrow in nature," said Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier. "There is a concern from the official's side. It's very difficult to get high-sticking right. Was it your teammate, the opposition, or in some cases, was it yourself? If you get that wrong, and it's a four-minute (double) minor it can potentially be two goals."
Via Nick Cotsonika of Y! Sports, here's NHL VP Colin Campbell on the video review portion of the meeting:
Is it likely that you'll go back to the managers in June with what specifics that may be broadened in video review?
"We had a discussion and there were some requests to expand video review. I told them they couldn't be general in those requests and where do you want to expand it to? Right now I think we've played 1,080 games and we've probably had 5-8 situations where it's 'why don't we call it how we think we see it instead of the view we need with the puck across the line?' The managers had a little bit of feel for, 'If you think it's in, then call it in,' and we don't operate that way. There was some appetite to take video review a little further."
Is there a chance that a four-minute minor or goalie interference could be up for video review next year?
"Yeah, the four-minute minor was our request because we've had situations where on video review it's the other players stick and it's a hard call on the ice. We said we can live with it for 82 games, but in the playoffs that's a pretty big turnaround if you get the wrong call. The referees have supported us on that. They would like some help on that. That's our plea in hockey operations. We threw that at the managers and that could get some traction in June."
What about goalie interference?
"Goalie interference did not have any traction."
A few things here. First, goalie interference is an essential play for video review. Referee's sightlines get blocked, the action moves too fast … there are so many factors for human error on a play that can affect whether a goal should count. Either through the League's War Room or a coach's challenge, it should be a reviewable play, like, yesterday.
Also: Is Campbell arguing that video review might be expanded for the playoffs only, and that the referees support this?
So for 82 games, we'll have a skills competition determining games and game-changing blown calls that would otherwise be overturned through video review in the playoffs? Just when you thought the NHL regular season's importance couldn't be further diminished …
There should be a review any play that involves a goal being disputed, including goalie interference. As for high-sticking, maybe that falls under the coach's challenge umbrella, along with things like the puck flying over the glass on a deflection the refs didn't see, or going off the netting.