The NHL’s 30 GMs met in New York this afternoon and talked about some hot-button issues. But would change be worse for the game, or better?
NEW YORK, NY – Is there ever true perfection in sports? And is it important to strive for perfection, or better to let the messiness and chaos take the fans on a roller coaster ride? Based on the results of the GMs meeting in New York on Wednesday afternoon, chaos shall reign in hockey – at least for a little while longer.
Expanded instant replay and a coach’s challenge were both struck down at the meeting, just as they had been at an earlier meeting of the NHL competition committee. Pandora’s Box seems to be the best way of describing the opposition in the case of more instant replay.
“This game has operated pretty well for 100 years,” said Nashville GM David Poile. “Referees have pretty much been in charge. If you go to some type of replay situation, are we going to review every goal? There’s four guys on the ice and in a lot of these situations they’ve been correct, probably 99 percent of the time. You’ve gotta do what’s best for the game and the officials do a good job.”
The most obvious drawback to instant replay is the amount of time it takes, which also comes into play when bringing up a coach’s challenge. In a flow sport like hockey, part of the excitement comes from the constant action.
“In baseball and football there are short periods of time, stoppages right away where they can contemplate,” said Phoenix GM Don Maloney. “In our sport, there are seven or eight minutes with no stoppage of play. Logically, you’d think there would be something you could define; four or five instances where a coach’s challenge would make sense, but we’re not there yet.”
At first blush, every fan can think of a play that went against their team that one of these two concepts may have turned over, but it probably didn’t involve the same rule. Would offside calls be reversed? What about goaltender interference? The latter was an issue discussed by the GMs and a clear definition still doesn’t seem to be agreed upon. Without that consensus, there is no starting point. But that’s not to say it won’t come in the future.
“We’re getting there…there’s certainly an appetite for it,” Maloney said. “We’re just not sure how to implement it yet.”
Some items that were approved included switching nets in overtime so that teams have to make the “long change,” which hypothetically would lead to more goals. Also, a dry scrape of the ice after regulation would hopefully end more games before the shootout. The GMs also approved a more international style of faceoff rules, where less physicality and encroachment was allowed.