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GMs propose to have NHL Situation Room decide goalie interference

Change must be approved by Board of Governors

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. --  Final determination on all goaltender interference reviews initiated by a coach's challenge will be made by members of the NHL Hockey Operations staff in the Situation Room in Toronto if a recommended change by the League's general managers is approved.

As part of the recommended rule change, which the GMs made Wednesday, the final day of their annual March meetings at Boca Beach Club, a member of the NHL Officiating Management Team, comprised of six retired officials, will be in the Situation Room consulting the Hockey Operations staff to help them make a final determination.

The rule change would shift final determination on all goalie interference reviews away from on-ice officials, who still will be consulted on all decisions.


[RELATED: Cotsonika: Goalie interference review change won't eliminate judgment calls]


The proposal by the GMs makes no changes to the standard under which goaltender interference is judged and includes no changes to the criteria governing whether on-ice calls should be overturned.

The rule change was approved by the NHL Players' Association executive board and the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee. It needs unanimous approval from the Board of Governors in an electronic vote to become official. The hope is to have the change in place by the end of the regular season.

Video: EJ chats with Ray Shero about the GM Meetings

"It was the sense of this group, the managers, that while we've had close to 170 reviews and maybe a half a dozen have been problematic, although they seem to have gotten most of the attention, the fact is even with respect with those half a dozen or so we'd like to be perfect and we think we can get even greater consistency with having a former referee working with Hockey Operations, going through the review process and getting us to the right result," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We anticipate, subject to getting all the approvals, having this in place certainly for the start of the (Stanley Cup) Playoffs. Over the summer, if we think we need to do any more tweaking, that's something we can evaluate before next season."

Video: EJ chats with Commissioner Gary Bettman

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the League also received approval from the NHL Officials Association, which was represented by its president, Dan O'Halloran, at the meetings. Daly said putting a former official in the Situation Room was something the officials and GMs were in favor of.

"I think it helps inform the conversation having an official as part of the conversation," Daly said.

Commissioner Bettman, though, said the change is being recommended to address only a minority of the reviews.

He said of the approximately 170 reviews for goaltender interference this season, the Hockey Operations staff in the Situation Room would have changed six of the final decisions made by the on-ice officials.

Video: Steve Yzerman chats about goalie interference rule

"I think it'll be an improvement because to the extent that the managers and even the coaches were looking for consistency, Hockey Operations, we have to wear whatever decision it is anyway, so we're going to have final decision," Commissioner Bettman said. "If you ask [NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell] and you ask the officials, overwhelmingly there's been agreement between the officials on the ice and the people in Toronto. Overwhelmingly. But, again, it's been a handful of calls that have caused all of the attention, and if we can address those handful of calls we're going to do it."

Daly said the League will continue to look at the wording of the goaltender interference rule in the offseason to see if any language or the interpretation of the language needs to be changed.

He also said the GMs discussed enforcing a two-minute minor penalty in cases where the team challenging for goaltender interference fails to get the call overturned, with the idea of it being a mechanism to reduce the number of challenges.

Video: Discussing the GM Meetings proposed rule change

The League began enforcing a minor penalty for failed offside challenges this season and has seen nearly a 50 percent reduction in the number of challenges.

"It was kind of, let's defer that to the summer, see how we want to approach the rule," Daly said. "It's a possibility."

In addition to the rule change recommendation, Daly said the GMs were informed the expansion draft rules that were in place last year with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights would be the same if the League decides to add a team in Seattle.

"It's still a ways off," Daly said of potential expansion.

Video: EJ chats with Rosen and Cotsonika at the GM Meetings

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