7:30PM: The NHLPA has worked quickly to review the proposed changes. The Competition Committee announced this evening that they have approved the “NHL General Managers Recommended Change to Rule 78.7(ii) Governing Coach’s Challenges for Goaltender Interference”. The Committee, made up of members Mike Cammalleri, Ron Hainsey, Kevin Shattenkirk, Cory Schneider and Daniel Winnik, was joined by other players in making this decision. Players’ Association executive and long-time NHLer Mathieu Schneider stressed that “first and foremost, the players want consistency in the application of the rule”. The last remaining step in the process is for the recommendation to be approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors. At this rate, the rule change could be made by the end of the week.
10:30AM: The league knew something had to be done about the goaltender interference problem, and today at the GMs meetings in Florida Gary Bettman announced that a retired official will join the situation room in Toronto to determine the call on interference reviews. This announcement, as reported by several sources including Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, comes pending approval from the Competition Committee and Board of Governors.
Though the league demonstrated that there hasn’t been considerably more challenges this season than those the last few years, the decisions have come under much greater scrutiny. Weekly there is a decision that is met with ire from fans of a certain team, and coverage was only increased when the league admitted they would be instructing their officials to call things differently after the All-Star break.
Now things seem to be taken out of the on-ice officials’ hands, as the league will make the decisions themselves—though one can suspect they will consult the game referees. Still, theoretically it should provide some more consistency to the calls at the very least. As Darren Dreger of TSN points out, the league could eventually move to the same system they have for offside reviews, in which a team receives a minor penalty if they challenge and get it wrong.
Frank Seravalli of TSN believes that the six referee supervisors will be the ones who rotate through the situation room, listing Don Koharski, Paul Devorski, Rob Shick, Mick McGeough and Don Van Massenhoven as potential options, while Greg Wyshynski of ESPN adds Bill McCreary and Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom.