The NHL could soon be placing time limitations on referees when reviewing plays.
During the all-star weekend, NHL Hockey Operations director Colin Campbell hosted a meeting with the four coaches, the on-ice officials, some general managers in town and a few others in the hockey operations department regarding certain aspects of the review process.
“During that meeting on Saturday … It was discussed the possibility of one way of executing [reviews] in the future is limiting the amount of time referees could look at the [tablet] and review these things,” said Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston on Hockey Central.
While it remains to be seen whether or not a time limit on the review process will come to fruition, recent negative reactions to goaltender interference reviews have resulted in the NHL sending out a memo instructing officials to “not look at this so finely when they’re looking at the video,” said Johnston.
On Dec. 22 Auston Matthews had a goal called back during the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ game against the Colorado Avalanche resulting in the young star expressing his frustration during the weekend’s events.
“There’s definitely a bit of grey area there,” Matthews said Saturday. “Night in, night out, some stuff is goalie interference and some stuff isn’t. You kinda compare and it doesn’t make sense sometimes.”
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock also conveyed his confusion as well as indicated that other coaches around the league were as perplexed as he after the no-goal call.
“I got texts from half the coaches saying that should be a goal, so if coaches don’t know, we don’t know,” said the Toronto bench boss following the loss to the Avalanche.
Just three days later another high-profile goal was reversed when Connor McDavid put what would have been the overtime winner past David Rittich during the Edmonton Oilers‘ game against the Calgary Flames.
“I think everyone just wants black and white,” McDavid said after the game. “I think everyone just wants it to be goaltender interference or not.”
Perhaps the league’s memo will help to calm the constant criticism fuelled by lengthy review processes, but regardless Johnston believes the idea of a time limitation will possibly enter the review system in the future.
“As we get into the GM meetings in a month and a half time or so I expect that that is an idea that is revisited and perhaps something we see instituted down the road.”