TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger have the latest on expanded video review, changes to overtime, face-off modifications and the NHL potentially allowing kicked-in goals.
Are GMs any closer to a consensus on expanded video review that would include goaltender interference?
Bob McKenzie: I wouldn't go as so far as to say that they're reaching consensus, but they are having some scintillating conversations that we never heard before on goalie interference and that is this - in the breakout group that they had today, a couple of the general managers, Brian Burke and Bryan Murray amongst others, said that, if they want to go to review goaltender interference, they would like the referees to be able to it on the ice, in the penalty box with a monitor there, NFL-style. That's never really been discussed before. The NHL has always been hesitant to do it. It will be interesting to see whether it gets any support from the larger group on Tuesday.
Darren Dreger: Additonal video review is generally a hot-button topic at these meetings. We've talked, seemingly, on an annual basis about the coach's challenge. Well again, that has legs. There's some concern as to how you work out the details. The devil is in the details with the criteria. If the puck leaves the zone, does that nullify the coach's challenge? If there's a change in possession, does that nullify the challenge? I think you could see some real traction on additional video review for goaltender interference, but also the puck off the net that ends up in the goal and, perhaps, looking at offsides, like the Matt Duchene goal scored last year. That still haunts the NHL and video review could have stopped that.
Could we see it expanded in time for the playoffs?
Dreger: Very, very unlikely. I think it's a long shot at best because there's a review process that the NHL has to go through that includes the competition committee and, ultimately, the Board of Governors would have to sign off on it during the Stanley Cup finals.
Ken Holland's proposal for a three-on-three overtime, as they try to reduce the number of shootouts, seemed to be gaining momentum. Has it now hit a major roadblock?
McKenzie: It certainly seems as if that momentum has dissipated. Everybody who was talking about it at the November general managers' meetings in Toronto aren't talking about it now. Glen Sather, New York Rangers general manager, called three-on-three overtime a pipe dream. Nobody seems to be talking that up too much, but what they are talking about is, potentially, doing a dry scrape of the ice before overtime instead of after, when they normally do it before the shootout, and going to the long change format, that is with the goaltender in the same position as he is in the second period, furthest away from the team's bench. A much harder change that usually results in more goal-scoring in the second period.
Face-offs and Face-off markings were also under scrutiny on Monday. What options for change are there?
Dreger: Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues pitched a novel idea, stealing from the Olympic tournament, in how the alignment was used in the Olympics, with the spacing between the hashmarks. In the NHL, there's just a three-foot separation. In the Olympics, it was five feet and, should the NHL consider that, it would create more space and there would be less contact, so the forwards could have some more room to move. Another face-off idea, and I think it's a long shot at best, is trying to get rid of wasted time in throwing the centremen out of the face-off circle when he's completed an illegal draw. Move that centre back one foot is an idea that was pitched on day one. Some are intrigued by it to the point that they want further discussion, but I don't see this one flying.
Is the NHL seriously considering counting all goals kicked in with the skate on the ice?
McKenzie: Well, they are certainly talking about it and it's a big step forward. They are looking at a liberalized kicking-in of goals, but we're going to wait to see. You just never know.
Dreger: I'm sure the Players' Association will have some input on that and, certainly, any overtime modifications being made. We know that Mathieu Schneider, Joe Reekie and Rob Zamuner will attend Tuesday's meetings and the sense is that they have some thoughts of their own on some tweaks or changes that might help grow the game.