NHL GMs lukewarm on major rule changes
Changes to OT, video review, goalie interference discussed
NHL general managers spent the first day of their three-day meetings discussing overtime and shootouts, expanded video reviews and goalie interference.
The opening session Monday in Boca Raton, Fla., featured three breakout groups of 10 general managers, with each group assigned particular topics.
There appears to be some concern that too many games are being decided in shootouts instead of during the flow of play. Of the 135 of 963 games played through last Saturday, 14 per cent were decided in a shootout. And 40 per cent that went to overtime were decided in a shootout.
Among the suggested changes being discussed are a 3-on-3 element instead of four skaters apiece in the extra 5-minute session; extending the overtime; or requiring teams to switch ends of the ice, creating a longer change on line changes.
But there doesn't seem to be a strong consensus toward any particular direction — or even if overtime needs to be changed.
Colin Campbell, the NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, viewed the overtime issue as both an official and a hockey fan.
"I think what the challenge is to maybe not have as many shootouts," Campbell said. "A lot of people in the game would rather see the game decided (not) in a skills contest.
"I would, too, but I'm the last one to leave the room when they're doing the shootout. I like watching to see what's going to happen. So I'm kind of torn in that direction."
The discussion of expanded video review seems weighted on when to start reviewing the tape and how much time a review takes.
"I will say there wasn't a lot of consensus on the criteria," said Craig MacTavish, Edmonton's general manager. "There's a lot that goes into it when you're trying to evaluate the specific criteria, like how long from the incident are you going to reel it back?
"There was no resolution in our group in terms of making many changes to video review."
The increase in activity around the net has also led to an interest in goalie interference at this week's meetings.
"There's so much play around the net now, the way our game is now with everybody collapsing and boxing out and blocking shots," said Bryan Murray, Ottawa's GM. "All the plays now that are goals, in most cases, there's some kind of foot in the crease. I'm not interested in that. But if the goaltender is not allowed to make a play on the shot, then we should we get the call as correct as we can."
Also on the agenda is kicked-in goals.
"I think there is an appetite to have directed goals be allowed," said Tim Murray, Buffalo's general manager. "I know it says distinct kicking motion, but (with) a blatant lift-your-foot-off-the-ice kick type of thing not allowed."
On Tuesday, members of the breakout groups will report to the whole meeting.