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NHLPA to be consulted on goal-net changes

Tuesday, 09.20.2011 / 5:19 PM / News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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NHLPA to be consulted on goal-net changes
Before the NHL implements the green goal-verification line, thinner mesh at the top of the nets and the clear plastic lining near the goal posts, it will consult with the Players' Association.
NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday the Board of Governors "is enthusiastic about supporting" the changes that could be implemented this season in order to provide Hockey Operations better tools to ensure accuracy in goal reviews.

However, before the League goes forward and implements the green goal-verification line, thinner mesh at the top of the nets and the clear plastic lining near the goal posts, it will consult with the Players' Association to make sure it is on board.

The two sides will likely come to a conclusion before the season with the hope of implementing the changes when the regular season begins.

"We work together with the PA and we've talked to them about this and they've been with us along the way," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell told NHL.com. "It's something we need them to know about. We try to operate with no surprises."

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The three changes were tested Monday night in the preseason game between the Maple Leafs and Senators at Air Canada Centre. The League also tested nets that are four inches shallower than the ones that are currently used in games, but those will definitely not be put into play this season mainly because of how long it would take to manufacture enough goal cages so each team had two in its practice rink and two in its game rink.

Campbell also said the shallower nets will have an effect on the playing conditions whereas the green verification line, thinner mesh at the top of the nets and the clear plastic lining near the goal posts are strictly optical changes that will not change the on-ice product.

"There are some playing condition effects and we noticed it (Monday) night," Campbell said. "We thought it was a way to maybe help the offensive aspect of the game, but the goaltenders get back in the net in a hurry. They play the puck and get back quicker, so there are little things there."

The green goal-verification line provides a second point of reference other than the goal line to see if the puck is completely in the net. The verification line wouldn't be painted in the ice, but instead a six-foot wide piece of fabric consisting of the red goal line, three and one-quarter inches of white space designed to simulate ice and the green verification line would be frozen into the ice.

Campbell said when he looked at the red line up close during the 2011 Research, Development and Orientation Camp last month he noticed it was frayed, and that could lead to speculation on if the puck is touching it or not. The lines on the fabric would be absolute.

"The games are tight and one goal here and there could be the difference in potentially making the playoffs, winning a Stanley Cup or not," Oilers President Kevin Lowe told NHL.com. "So, getting these right and doing them as expediently as poshsible with these new ideas is good for the fans."

The thinner mesh is designed to provide a better overhead view of inside the net and the clear plastic lining near the goal posts gives a better look into the lower sides of the net. That area is currently covered by a white skirt, which can get in the way of seeing the puck clearly if a player decides to tuck it into the lower corner.

The clear plastic lining measures 18 inches from the goal post.

"Any time you can minimize the sort of judgment calls that are out there and make them more defined, you have to do it," Devils GM and President Lou Lamoriello told NHL.com. "It has to be something too that makes sense, too, and this was an excellent idea. It's going to take some of the indecision out of it.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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