OTTAWA – Cameras will be added to each blue line for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs to help assist with coach's challenges that review offside plays, the NHL announced at the annual general manager's meeting in Boca Raton, Fla.
The coach's challenge, a new addition to the NHL this season, can be used to review whether plays that resulted in goals were offside, or whether there was goaltender inference.
Beginning in the postseason, the NHL will install cameras on the blue lines in the arenas of the 16 playoffs teams to provide more angles for referees when reviewing whether a play was offside.
"If they're going to have that rule in the coach's challenge with the intent of getting it right, they might as well give themselves the best chance to get it right," Ryan Carter said. "The more cameras, probably the better."
The cameras were experimented with during the Wild's 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The league also used them during the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, and the Stadium Series game in Denver between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings.
In Minnesota Wild games this season, a total of seven plays have been challenged to review offside. Five by the Wild, one of which was overturned, and three by its opponents, none of which have been reversed.
"It's for sure going to help. Just to kind of make it black-and-white whether it's offside or not," Matt Dumba said. "There's kind of been a little bit of gray area in some calls this year, and that will just help eliminate that."
Most recently, the Wild challenged a goal scored by the St. Louis Blues in which forward Kyle Brodziak backed over the blue line. The Blues scored later in the shift, and after a Wild challenge, the call on the ice was upheld.
The Wild lost that game, 4-2.
"Any amount of technology that's going to help that call is good," Devan Dubnyk said. "If they put the cameras on the blue line, the more accurate they can be, the better off we are."
Another change that was discussed to the coach's challenge was having Toronto, which houses the NHL's replay offices, to determine all challenge reviews. Currently, the referees officiating that game watch replays of the play in question, then determine whether the call will be upheld.
"I said before, it's a tough — and I don't think the refs will say this — it's a tough spot to put the refs in," Dubnyk said. "They're watching a little screen in front of 20,000 people, and they're supposed to go and admit they're wrong."
Dubnyk also said for calls like goaltender interference, there's an element of subjectivity that could be made consistent if the same people were reviewing every instance.
"There just needs to be a consistent kind of interpretation from somebody about whether it affected the puck going in, or a guy's ability to do the job," Dubnyk said. "You almost need somebody who's played goal before. I've seen goals get called off where I'm watching and going, 'Yeah, he touched him, but that goal is going in anyway."
He referenced a challenge the Wild won in a game against the Dallas Stars this season, where a goal was awarded on the ice, but taken off the board after it was determined forward Antoine Roussel did not allow Dubnyk to play his position.
"It's very subtle, and you can kind of only see it from the overhead, and everyone is saying, 'He didn't interfere with you,'" Dubnyk said. "That was a great call because that tiny little bit. That was exciting to me because that was my hand that I needed to stop the puck with, and I couldn't do that."