The NHL and NHLPA’s Competition Committee met today in New York, and as Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet report, much of their decisions will be to maintain the status quo. Though new chest protectors for goaltenders will be implemented finally, the committee will suggest that goaltender interference reviews will stay in the Toronto Situation Room for next season. LeBrun also mentions that there was plenty of discussion about Rule 48—hits to the head—but doesn’t suggest any potential decisions one way or the other.
Interference calls were a point of huge contention this year, as referees on the ice routinely made a decision that confused coaches and players. The lack of any real consistency was the complaint of most, who just wanted to clearly know what constituted interference on a goal. That debate settled down a bit after the league made an in-season decision to put the power into the hands of those in Toronto, who hired a select group retired officials to be on hand every night.
Hits to the head looks like it will be the next battlefield for the NHL, though it’s unclear who is fighting on which side. Obviously players as a whole would like to see their members suffer fewer concussions, but there doesn’t seem to be a real thirst to reduce the amount of physical play in the league. Owners on the other hand could be forgiven if they want their biggest assets (players) protected, but also don’t want to remove any excitement from the game. It’s not hard to understand why then they would have long discussions but few decisions on the rule, with it likely coming down to a stricter hand by the Department of Player Safety next season. Already we’ve seen the DoPS release videos trying to explain their decision making process more thoroughly, and that should only continue into next season.