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NHL Competition Committee releases rule change recommendations; expanded replay is in the mix

Expanded replay will either help limit the refs making game changing mistakes or slow the game down.

San Jose Sharks v St Louis Blues - Game Three Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

It’s the night before the Stanley Cup Final’s grand finale, and the NHL has learned a thing or two about egregious missed calls and how to handle them. They’re listening to players’ and coaches’ concerns about missed calls that could directly impact if a goal is scored or not, and they’ve suggested video review and expanded replay.

Here’s what we’ve got, straight from the Committee’s press release:

  • Expanded Review/Challenge: The Committee recommends changes to the Coach’s Challenge and expanded video review, including as it relates to a Referee’s ability to review some of his own calls on the ice.
  • Helmets Off During Play: The Committee recommends work on a rule construct for implementation next season that would reasonably require a player to leave the ice in the event his helmet comes off during play.
  • Goalies Unnecessarily Freezing Puck: The Committee recommends that the defensive team not be permitted a line change when a goalie freezes the puck on any shot from outside the center red line. The offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place.
  • Face-off Procedure Changes/Line Changes: The Committee recommends: i) that following an icing, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place. ii) To begin a power-play, the offensive team will have the choice of which end-zone dot the face-off will take place. iii) That no line change be permitted for the defending team if, in the judgement of the Official, the actions of a skater of the defensive team caused the stoppage by unintentionally knocking the net off. The offensive team will have the choice of which end-zone dot the face-off will take place.
  • Puck Out of Bounds: The Committee recommends that when the attacking team is responsible for the puck going out of play in the attacking zone, all face-offs will be conducted at one of the two face-off dots in the attacking zone.

The expanded video review suggestion is probably directly caused by one of many missed calls this post-season, be it a hand pass or a missed trip. The question here is the specifics - how far back can a coach request a review? Should it be on a play directly leading to the scoring of a goal? How do you determine if the call (or lack of call) is part of that sequence? What part of the Butterfly Effect do you call it quits at?

This could slow the speed of play if it’s not limited to one review a game.

Was there some sort of ongoing issue regarding the location of face-offs, or is that rule suggestion just something that folks went “wouldn’t this be nice?” It gives the attacking team an advantage depending on handness of skaters shooting off of the face off and where the goaltender’s weakness might be.

The helmets off during play rule is a smart step toward limiting concussions. Let’s just say NBC wouldn’t’ve made a highlight clip of the Torey Krug hit on Robert Thomas had Krug hit his head on the ice and sustained an injury. It doesn’t matter how cool you look out there without a lid if it leads to a traumatic brain injury. You’re not Craig MacTavish. Go put a helmet on.