SUN Hockey Pool

NHL eying more reviews

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:37 PM ET

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- If some NHL general managers get their way, Big Brother will have more to watch.

As the GMs wrapped up their third and final day of meetings, talk turned from concussions and headshots to perhaps expanding the number of plays that could be subject to video review by the War Room in Toronto, which monitors all NHL games.

Video review is currently limited to whether or not a puck crossed the goal line and whether it was directed there by a high stick or scored with a kicking motion. Some general managers and NHL operations people would like to see the scope of the War Room broadened.

Offsides, a player in the crease, plays where the puck goes off the protective netting undetected and a review of double-minor high-sticking penalties (a request from Hockey Operations) could all become subject to video review if some GMs get their way.

"It's always about getting things right" said Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray. "We have some goals, some offsides, some penalties we'd like to see reviewed. We talked about it, but realistically, it is a game of human judgement. You have to allow the referees to continue what they do. There was talk about giving more freedom to the hockey ops people to make corrections if necessary, but I don't know if that's going anywhere."

Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke said he had some reservations about slowing the game down, which could happen if the number of plays subject to review becomes unwieldy.

"There's a sense the GMs want to get it right and that would mean adding some of the situations that are reviewable," said Burke. "I worry about what that does to the time of the game, I worry about how far back in time a review is allowed to go, I worry about the different camera angles in different buildings. I think the GMs are going to make that case in memo form and we'll consider it.

"The whole thing makes me nervous as far as the time of game. Review has been a good addition to our league, but I think we have to be careful how far we take it. Too many men on the ice penalties? An icing that was missed 80 seconds before a goal was scored? I think we have to go slowly here."

The general managers discussed the idea of a coach's challenge on calls, but that did not have much backing. Nor did the idea of removing the trapezoid, which limits where a goaltender can handle the puck, or putting the red line back in for the purpose of two-line passes. There was no discussion of a hybrid icing rule.

There was also an analysis of the shootout -- already unpopular with most of the GMs -- and the legality of the spinorama move, which sees a player turn 360 degrees in an attempt to score a goal.

"I think people know my feeling on the shootout generally. It's almost the same as if the NFL decided overtime games by throwing a ball through a tire," said Burke. "But our fans like it, it's here to stay and the spinorama move to me, is exciting. We have to figure out where it's going to stop. You look at the goal (Tampa's) Marty St. Louis scored against Chicago, he came to a dead stop. I think the goalie's won at that point."

Not everyone feels the same way as Burke, though.

"You guys (the media) really like the shootouts and I hate them," said Murray. "It will continue to be discussed, but basically if the puck is moving and the guy spins, or whatever, that's fine. It's a legal goal."

A memo will be sent out to on-ice officials specifying if the puck comes to a stop during a shootout attempt, the play is dead and can be subject to video review.

Other topics discussed were putting finer netting on net tops for easier video review, making the nets shallower to add more room behind the net and freeing up more passing angles and the potential for wraparounds.

There was also some talk of making the annual CHL Prospects Game into more of a scouting combine opportunity.

The new protocol for diagnosing concussions, introduced during these meetings, is expected to go into action tonight. Players suspected of having been concussed will be taken to the dressing for 15 minutes to be evaluated by a doctor.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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