The Coach’s Challenge has added a new wrinkle to the replay system, and the NHL wants to make sure that a playoff series won’t be won or lost on an inconclusive call. That’s why in time for the playoffs, the league is looking to get the best view of the goal line possible.
Senior vice president of hockey operations Kris King told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo that the league is planning to move the two cameras currently situated inside the posts to the crossbar to get a top-down look at close plays. The hope, Russo reported, is the league will have the cameras moved to the crossbar by the time the playoffs begin.
“We think it’ll give us a truer picture and a real look straight down from 4 feet away rather than the overhead on the rafters that can sometimes be distorted,” King told Russo. “Oftentimes there’s traffic or goalie gear locking out [the post] cameras, and what we saw at the All-Star Game looked fantastic.”
As King mentions, the cameras were used during the All-Star Game to see how effective the crossbar angle could be. Coincidentally, news the league is looking to get the crossbar cameras installed comes the day after Washington’s Jay Beagle scored a goal that needed a lengthy review to be ruled a good goal. The overhead cameras may also prevent another occurrence like the controversial no-goal on a shot by Calgary’s Sam Bennett the 2015 post-season.
Bennett, you may recall, appeared to have scored a game-tying goal in Game Three of the Flames’ second-round series against Anaheim, but it was ruled inconclusive and the no-goal call on the ice stood. An overhead camera likely would have been able to give a conclusive angle of Bennett’s shot.
In addition, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday evening the league is also looking into cameras along the blueline in order to get a better and more accurate look when it comes to offside calls.
Another concern coaches and players have had regarding the reviews is consistency, but King also told Russo the league is giving the officials “continued education” in an attempt to standardize calls as best as possible from crew to crew. The league’s director of officiating, Stephen Walkom, is sent a video containing all challenges or reviewed plays from the previous week, which helps “each official…understand what their colleagues are doing,” said King.
Through all the calls for the calls to be centralized, though, the league has yet to take the step to take over and be the central hub for all reviews. That said, King told Russo the officials are starting to take into account what the NHL war room has to say on some plays.
“This came out of the GMs meeting in the fall where they asked us to be a little more giving of what we see, remembering quite specifically that [the officials] have the final say…We’re just giving them information and helping them get to that call,” King said.