BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The recommendation to adopt 3-on-3 play in regular-season overtime next season dominated the news Tuesday at the meeting of NHL general managers here, the suggestion that a limited video-replay challenge be instituted for next season could be as important.
The replay challenge, as proposed, would be used to rule on goals that involve the question of goaltender interference, or on delay-of-game penalties for players in the defensive zone shooting the puck directly out of play.
"What we're going to do, which is different, is we're going to create access for the officials on the ice to actually see video in consultation with the Situation Room in Toronto and they're going to look at it and they're going to see if, with the benefit of review, after a coach's challenge, whether or not there was a better call to make," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
The NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee and the Board of Governors will have to approve each of the recommendations before they can be enacted. Each group traditionally meets in June.
The mechanics of the coach's challenge are in the discussion stage but a general blueprint has been agreed upon by the general managers.
For goaltender interference, the challenged play will be reviewed by on-ice officials, with the aid of a tablet or other device, to determine if the call should stand or be changed because of the presence of clear-cut interference with the goaltender. The on-ice officials will be able to discuss the play with the Hockey Operations Department in the NHL Situation Room in Toronto, but the call will remain a judgment call by the on-ice officials. Puck-out-of-play reviews will be conducted solely by the Situation Room, which is the process used for standard reviews.
A team must possess its timeout in order to be able to make a challenge, according to the recommendation being made. A challenge which does not result in the reversal of the call on the ice will cost the challenging team its timeout and the ability to challenge for the remainder the game. During overtime, on-ice officials will make the call but review can be initiated by the Situation Room without a coach's challenge.
The concept of expanded video replay has been broached several times at these meetings, but the impetus to make such a sweeping change to what the managers view as a highly successful video-replay system had been lacking.
"It's about time," said Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who first championed the idea of a coach's challenge. "I got voted down 28-2 four years ago and today it was 29-1 in favor."
The thorny issues of goaltender interference and pucks out of play resulting in a delay-of-game penalty moved the needle.
"We want to make sure goalie interference is addressed, and the way to do that is to address it through a coach's challenge," St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said.
In the case of goaltender interference, the judgment nature of the call makes a video review in Toronto problematic. The on-ice officials might see something completely different than members of the Hockey Operations Department monitoring the game in the Situation Room.
"We would show [goalie interference] video in this room and 17 managers would think it was goaltender interference and 13 would say it wasn't and the level of conclusiveness if you were going to create a standard would have been so narrow that there would be one or two instances that you could review," Commissioner Bettman said. "Now having said that, we've had 140 instances involving goaltender interference this season and maybe -- maybe -- there are a dozen that were controversial. So the officials have a pretty good record of that. And of that dozen, maybe four or five should've been reversed. There were probably two or three in last year's [Stanley Cup] Playoffs that got a lot of attention."