One of the things about being a member of the Stars' fanbase is that you can't have a discussion about the merits of video review without someone making a smarmy comment belying their total ignorance of the continuation rule that was in place during the 1999 Stanley Cup run. The "Skate in the Crease" narrative was established, and it will probably never die. Most of us have gotten used to this, and I personally find it rather easy to withstand the occasional inane comment by utilizing the expedient of temporarily blacking out whenever someone starts to mention creases of any kind. I'd be lying if I said this didn't make life difficult when I'm moonlighting as a volunteer wedding planner/pleats counselor, so that is why I don't say that. Lying is bad.
General managers in the NHL don't have the luxury of on-command blackouts when rule-changes are discussed, though. These fellows are paid handsomely to make their teams work, and so it's no surprise that the NHL solicits their advice before trying to fix what ain't broken via the competition committee each year. Remember the dry scrape before overtime that lasted until Gary Bettman actually saw fans leaving upon its commencement? Whether he inferred that those departing fans were being impelled to a collective bowel movement or just leaving the building outright, our venerable commissionaire was having none of it. The change, so lauded (I guess) for its potential to enable crisper overtime play and thus fewer shootouts (I guess, again) ended up as so much detritus upon the rubbish heap of procedural failures, right next to the stupid original Reebok EDGE jerseys that tried to drown players as they stood around doing nothing but sweating.
So in this year's GM meetings, everyone is trying to make sure they do everything perfectly, as well they should. Nick Cotsonika has more:
They don’t want to go back to disallowing goals because of the black-and-white, toe-in-the-crease rule. But that means the call is subjective, and that means there will be debate.
"We want these guys to tell us: What is crease presence?" Campbell said. "When should a play be called off?"
Should the standard be different between a goalie who plays deep in his crease, like the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, and one who plays at the top of the paint? Should it matter if the goalie gives his opponent more room?
The GMs looked at examples on video. For the most part, they felt the referees got the call right on the ice. But sometimes they not only disagreed with the referees, they disagreed with each other.
"It sounds so simple," said the Dallas Stars’ Jim Nill. "If you talk to someone watching a game, they might say, ‘Why wouldn’t you call that?’ But when you are sitting in a room watching them, they are not clear cut. Understand that the referees are seeing things full speed at 100 mph. It’s difficult."
Should the NHL use video review because the game is so fast? Should the NHL not use it because it will create delays and not everyone agrees, anyway?
I understand Jim Nill (and many others) in their hesitance to go all "more is better" when it comes to coaches' challenges, replays, etc. Waiting until you have the best solution is much more important than rushing to prevent a blown call from ever happening in the first place and mucking things up along the way.
For what it's worth, I would be fine with cold, robotic, mercilessly automated calls for things like off-sides or pucks across the goal line, but if you're going to have judgment calls be in the game in the first place, which you probably do for most penalties, then you'll have to live with a somewhat broad spectrum of penalty calls along with it. Otherwise, all you're doing is tossing the interpretive hot potato from one person to another. Besides, I don't want to watch hockey if I can't focus all of my ire at a blown call towards the zebras, as is the time-honored tradition.
Now, if you want to put the review officials for each game in a glass cube hanging from the jumbotron like some kind of flying pod full of alien overlords? Well, I would vote for that, and I would certainly hope that Jim Nill would, too.
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The GMs are also discussing emergency goalies and 3-on-3 overtime. I personally would be interested in seeing 3v3, but it might start to feel pretty gimmicky before too long. What say you, Texas Stars viewers? (I am betting you are not fans of overtime in general this season, actually.)
Even if you don't use Google Translate (or if you read Finnish), this page tells you all you need to know: Esa Lindell, Texas Stars. [mtv.fi]
The kids are paying off like a broken slot machine, says Jordan Dix, sort of. [Hockey Writers]
Jamie Oleksiak also got sent to Texas, although it may prove to be a temporary assignment during Dallas's three-day break between games this week. [Stars]
Should Mike Ribeiro be suspended for the sexual assault lawsuit being filed against him? Good thoughts here, I think. [On the Forecheck]
Ryan Lambert is not a big fan of Doug Wilson's Joe Thornton approach. [Puck Daddy]
Alex Ovechkin got kind of upset at Mike Weber last night and took three or four [hundred] strides before mixing it up. I would probably be upset at having to see those jerseys up close, too. [Pro Hockey Talk]
Martin St. Louis could be out for two weeks with a knee injury after a collision with Dmitry Kulikov. Your brain only saw "Kulikov" and "knee" and now you are very angry again. Aren't brains fascinating? [Puck Daddy]
Kind of a big deal: if the NHLPA doesn't use its 5% escalator, the NHL apparently can still escalate the cap anyway. That is probably why we should all read the current CBA from front to back starting today. You there, yes, you: start now. [SportsNet]
Derek "D-News" Neumeier has a good look at ten prospects who deserve a chance to get drafted this summer after being passed over last year. I want the Stars to grab Pius Suter just so I can make old-timey courtship jokes. [Hockey Writers]
Here is an interesting and kind of sad piece. What is it like being a hockey wife? It is sometimes the absolute worst. [National Post]
Here's one for noted "hockey players with puppies" advocate Erin Bolen: Bark Madness, LA Kings players and their puppies face off in the best dumb March Madness-themed bracket this season. [Royal Half]
Finally, here are some highlights from last week in SLOW MOTION: