Hockey News

NHL: soon no more disputes

PALM BEACH – Are you tired of disputes and the delays they cause while officials analyze for many minutes the replays that will allow their decisions to be maintained or reversed?

Prepare yourselves! Because if the competition committee made up of five players and five owners/general managers approves the proposals presented Tuesday by the CEOs as part of their major annual meeting, two additional challenges will be added to the list already established.

Martin St-Louis and the 31 head coaches of the circuit will be able to challenge penalties awarded to their players for high sticks and for pucks fired directly into the crowd.

However, coaches must be very well informed or ready to assume serious consequences if the tests do not prove them right.

Because if the referees’ initial decisions are upheld, a minor penalty for delaying the game will be added to the first penalty related to the reported infraction. The club will therefore find itself in a five against three situation.

On the other hand, if the replays confirm that a player hit in the face was hit by a lost puck or by a teammate’s stick and not that of an opponent, or that the puck did not go directly in the stands, the penalties initially awarded will be canceled.

Note here that the referees are almost always right: only twice so far this season have replays shown that the officials were wrong on the 234 penalties awarded for shooting the puck into the crowd. Last year and two years ago, they were wrong six times on the 278 and 254 penalties distributed.

This means that head coaches will have to think twice before contesting.

Why make this change then?

“To prevent a crucial game in the Stanley Cup final from being decided following a five-man attack awarded in error. Our goal remains the same: to be as fair as possible, even though we know that it is impossible to be perfect,” explained hockey operations manager Colin Campbell.

Extension: status quo

In addition to the addition of these two types of disputes, the maintenance of the extension as we know it today is the other notable element of the second of the three days of meetings of general directors.

Unsurprisingly, proposals to punish, in one way or another, teams who return to the neutral zone and even the defensive zone when they are unable to generate a good scoring opportunity have all been swept aside. back of the hand.

“What should we do? Whistle stoppages in play to punish a club that slows down the game? We would further slow down the progress of overtime which seals the outcome of the match in 70% of cases,” said the dean of general managers Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders with conviction.

Goalkeepers in the crosshairs

Several other minor, even very minor, changes are proposed by the directors. Several hit the goalkeepers.

The first: goalkeepers sent into the fray to replace an injured teammate will be able to get a short warm-up period. But be careful: this permission will be granted only as part of a preventive withdrawal imposed by those responsible for player safety who follow, in the NHL offices in New York, all the matches played.

This decision will prevent head coaches, as they have done in the past, from pretending that their goalie is injured to make a change, with the accompanying warm-up, in order to obtain a disguised timeout.

Goalkeepers will now also be penalized when they accidentally remove the net from its moorings. Such a move will result in a faceoff in the defensive zone, on the side chosen by the attacking team, and the defending club will not be able to make a player change. This rule already exists. But it was reserved for players. The NHL will therefore simply extend it to goalkeepers.

A throw-in in the defensive zone, on the side chosen by the attacking club, without the defending players being able to be replaced will also be contested after a stoppage in play made necessary after a goalkeeper had lost his mask.

As for the emergency goalkeepers who wait from the top of the press box for their service to be required in the event of an injury, the status quo is maintained for the moment.

Between the doors

– The NHL will continue to show more leniency towards players who place themselves in an offside situation when they cross the enemy blue line when they do not appear to be in full control of the puck. “We are looking for ways to open up the offense more and allow talented players to shine. It is therefore possible that a player is considered in possession and control of the puck, even if it is not in contact with the blade of his stick,” indicated Colin Campbell.

– The NHL will, however, be tougher on players who sit on the boards waiting for a change. After a first warning, a minor penalty will be imposed on the offenders…

– The NHL will also try to standardize the “quality” of goalies in the 32 markets on the circuit. But she does not rule out the idea of ​​reviewing this policy in the coming years…

– Finally, let us remind you that all changes proposed during this week’s meeting must be approved by the competition committee and then receive the “royal seal” from the office of governors before being officially implemented…

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