Taking a look at NHL competition committee recommendations

Taking a look at NHL competition committee recommendations
June 10, 2014, 2:30 pm
Share This Post

The NHL Competition Committee had some Bruins representation this week with B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli joining Flyers owner Ed Snider, Nashville Predators GM David Poile, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney all representing the league side. The group met for five hours with Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues), Ron Hainsey (Carolina Hurricanes), Mike Cammalleri (Calgary Flames) and Daniel Winnik (Anaheim Ducks) and New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider on Monday, and made some recommendations that could have an effect on the Bruins next season and beyond.

The players and league representatives agreed to recommend a limited coach’s challenge for next season, but remained split on whether the challenge/video review could involve goalie interference. The goalie interference was the topic du jour given the Dwight King interference with Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 of the Cup Finals that led to a key goal for the Kings in their overtime win.

The committee was split as to whether the play even signified goaltender interference, and both the NHL and NHLPA agree that the nuances of interfering with the goalie are too subtle for video review.

Colin Campbell said the league will reinforce the parameters of goalie interference in summer videos sent out to players and officials.

“The underlying fundamental here is that if you are going to video review in a given area, there is the expectation of certainty, and it's just not there," said Mathieu Schneider, special advisor to the executive director of the NHL Players' Association, to USA Today.

GMs will meet on Wednesday to further discuss the findings of the competition committee, but it’s not expected that the NHL will make any changes to goaltending interference, which currently isn’t up for any form of video review.

While the NHL and NHLPA are in lockstep on the subject, it seems ludicrous that an NHL official in the league’s war room couldn’t make a final binding call on plays falling in the gray area.

The committee recommended an NFL-style coach’s challenge that would give each head coach one challenge per game, and would cost the coach his timeout if the challenge is unsuccessful. The coach wouldn’t have the ability to challenge if he’d already used his timeout earlier in the game. The challenge would be utilized for offside calls on goals or whether a puck is shot over the glass in its initial introduction into the NHL.

Other items recommended by the competition committee that must also be endorsed by the GMs and NHLPA before being approved by the Board of Governors:

*Players guilty of embellishment would be issued a warning and then fined, with the possibility of also fining coaches and teams found consistently guilty of the blight on the game.

*Teams switch ends before the start of overtime so each team would have a longer trip to the bench for a line change, similar to the second period. The hope is it would create more offense and odd-man rush situations in overtime, and would allow for more games to be decided in overtime rather than the shootout. A dry scrape of the ice would also be done before the overtime. This would be a good thing for a Bruins team that fared well in overtime (7-9) last season after adopting a three forward, one defenseman formation, and traditionally hasn’t been a good shootout team (3-6 last season). In general it’s a victory for hockey fans that abhor the shootout as a way to decide an NHL game. Some had lobbied for a 10-minute overtime session that started with five minutes of 4-on-4 play, and then dropped to 3-on-3 play in the final five minutes to further lessen the chances of a deciding shootout. But that doesn’t appear to be the appetite of the NHL at this point in time.

*Using the IIHF hash marks — five feet apart instead of three-and-half feet apart — to allow for more room in the face off circle, and cut down on the number of scrums after the draw. The marks would be tried first during the preseason before adopting them for the regular season. The league would do well to also do something about the stalling tactic of placing wingers into the face off circle to purposefully get tossed out of the draw, but it doesn’t appear that was addressed by the competition committee.

*Expanding the trapezoid by four feet to give goaltenders more room to play the puck behind the net.

*The league will also ask players to consider outlawing the spin-o-rama in shootouts, something that has already happened in other leagues. That may seal Kaspars Daugavins’ chances of ever making a comeback at the NHL level.