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Review of rule changes on docket for GM meetings

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- The effects of the new 3-on-3 overtime format and the impact of the newly instituted coach's challenge will be reviewed Tuesday when the NHL general managers convene for their annual November meeting.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the reviews of the new policies are procedural.

"In the normal course [when] you make significant rule changes like the 3-on-3 in overtime and the coach's challenge, you're going to review their operation to date," Daly said. "I don't think it's anything other than that. Somebody asked me whether it's possible that there could be some modifications to either of those rules coming out of this meeting? I would say categorically not. These rules are the way they're going to be at least for the balance of the season. I don't think there's been any unintended consequences for the rules. And I think they've operated as we've expected they'd operate."

Daly, however, said there could be a change in the League's coach and executive compensation policy, which was put in place Jan. 1 for teams to receive compensation in the form of draft picks when executives and coaches under contract leave to go to a different organization.

The League is concerned that compensation policy is not serving its purpose, because there have been instances of teams taking draft-pick compensation for coaches or general managers that have been fired.

For example, the Vancouver Canucks will receive one of the Columbus Blue Jackets' next three second-round draft picks for the in-season hire of coach John Tortorella, who was fired by the Canucks after the 2013-14 season with four years remaining on his contract. The Canucks are paying a portion of what is left on Tortorella's contract, which extends through the 2017-18 season.

Other teams have waived the policy, such as the New Jersey Devils when Lou Lamoriello left to become general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I think it could change," Daly said of the policy. "I think our position on that is it was instituted on Jan. 1 of this season and similar to rule changes, we think in fairness, you shouldn't be changing mid-stream, so you'd go a full cycle, which is at least through Jan. 1 of next year before I could see a change being made. But it's something we're going to discuss with the managers [Tuesday] and something we'll discuss with the Board [of Governors] in December."

Daly said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was not supportive of the executive compensation policy when it was instituted because of skepticism about its operation.

"I think some of the effects of that policy haven't been entirely consistent with certainly the intent of the policy," Daly said. "It's something that certainly warrants attention."

The change to the overtime format has so far had the desired effect, which was to have more games which extend beyond regulation decided in overtime rather than the shootout.

Through Sunday, 69 percent of the games that have extended past regulation have been decided in overtime (29 of 42), up from 44.4 percent last season, when 136 of 306 games that extended past regulation were decided in overtime.

"The mandate was we're looking to get more games ended in overtime, so job well done," St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said.

However, there have been some dissenting opinions on 3-on-3 from some players, including Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, and most recently, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

"I'm not a big fan of that overtime," Ovechkin told reporters in Washington following the Capitals 2-1 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. "You just get too exhausted. Both teams are just tired. I don't like it."

Commissioner Bettman addressed the complaints during a one-on-one discussion with Gord Miller of TSN and NBC Sports at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference and Trade Show on Monday.

"The fact is overwhelmingly it's had a positive reaction, and people are always entitled to their opinions," Commissioner Bettman said. "When you looked at what we were trying to accomplish with the rule change, it's working extraordinarily well."

Armstrong said he thinks the GMs do need to discuss, and potentially redefine, how reviews are conducted and what exactly is being looked at when coaches use their challenge.

Coaches are given one challenge per game and they must still possess their timeout to have ability to challenge. Only goals scored off of a potential goalie interference or during a sequence that followed a team entering the zone after a perceived offside are reviewable. A lost challenge results in the forfeiture of the timeout. A coach can make as many challenges as he likes as long as he is right on the previous challenges and still possesses his timeout.

The reviews are conducted by the on-ice officials through technology available to them in the penalty boxes.

So far, 32 goals have been challenged; 11 resulted in overturned goals. Twenty-three of the 32 challenged goals were for goals scored off of goalie interference, with seven reviews overturning the call on the ice of a good goal. Nine challenges have been issued for goals scored after an offside zone entry, with four overturned.

"You see when they have a definitive offside or a goalie interference it gets changed," Armstrong said. "We need to redefine what's a good goal and what's not a good goal. I think the referees, the managers and the NHL have an understanding that these things take time to perfect. Remember, this is the first time we're letting the officials review their own work. It's good, but it can get better."


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