NHL conditionally approves verification line, thinner mesh Staff

9/20/2011 4:29:36 PM

Hockey fans could see modifications around the goal net before the puck is officially dropped on the 2011-12 NHL regular season.

The NHL Board of Governors met in New York on Tuesday and received conditional approval for the use of the verification line; a three-and-a-quarter inch line that sits behind the goal line.

The board also received conditional approval to use thin mesh along the top of the net and a plastic skirt along the bottom.

Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell will determine when, or if, these changes are introduced this season.

Hockey Operations do have some technical issues with the thin meshing, saying it won't be able to get it made immediately and it will take a month or two to outfit the whole league. The clear skirt and the verification insert could be in place for the start of the season.

Other changes discussed on Tuesday were the shallow base nets, which are four inches shallower than the current size. Neither the board nor the NHLPA have intentions of implementing this for the upcoming season.

The addition of the Winnipeg Jets, who are currently in the Southeast division, also drew discussions on potential realignment scenarios. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told SportsBusiness Journal that the group discussed more than 10 plans for shifting the current conferences.

"Obviously we have to make arrangements to move Winnipeg west," Bettman said. "There are a number of other clubs that would like to see adjustments as to where they are aligned. Every club that felt that way had a chance to explain to the board why."

Nothing was decided upon, but progress was made and the expectation is that realignment will be decided on at December's meetings.

The ideas to make changes around the goal net were tested during the NHL's research and development camp last month. The verification lines, as well as the shallower nets with the thin mesh and plastic skirt, were also tested in Monday's exhibition game in Toronto between the Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.