Big changes are coming to the NHL, with the league reportedly in serious discussions about a drastic realignment plan for next season that would also alter the postseason format. As the NHL Board of Governors prepares for a March 21 meeting in Toronto another big change will be discussed -- reforming video replay procedures with the possible addition of a "coach's challenge."
David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail reports that more NHL governors than ever before are in favor of possible changes to the video review procedures for the NHL, as long they have to do with ensuring a goal should be allowed or not.
"I'm more open than I was when [Florida Panthers GM] Dale Tallon brought it up," said Red Wings GM Ken Holland. "The big thing in our game is goals, so we have to try to make sure goals are right, that we're not scoring goals on offsides or maybe goalie interference."
Tallon proposed to the rest of the Board of Governors way back in 2010 the implementation of one coach's challenge per game -- a proposal that was immediately shot down and rejected. Three years later it has become clear that the officials are making too many game-changing mistakes when it comes to calling off goals, especially after Matt Duchene scored in a one-goal game after being offside by nearly four feet.
The argument against changes to video replay comes with concerns about slowing the game down even further, as hockey is a game that relies on momentum and speed to keep the game freely flowing. If more and more plays became open to video review, the concern would be that game would be slowed down even more than what the current television-timeout format allows.
Hence, a single coach's challenge per game that allows a team to call out whether a goal should have been allowed -- whether by an offsides or by a penalty that was called or not called, specifically goaltender interference. Current rules do not allow for video review when the referee has waived a goal for goaltender interference, an incredibly subjective call that has had direct influences on the outcome of games the past few seasons.
With the game faster than ever before and the players more athletic, it's clear that the officiating has perhaps reached the threshold where human error is playing too big a part in how a game unfolds. Turning to expanded video review could be the answer, but slowing the game down even further by lengthy review periods is going to be a very large roadblock to determining a solution to the problem.
One looming question remains, however: What color flag with the coaches have to throw on the ice?