If you are hoping for more changes in how the NHL decides
ties who wins things after 60 minutes of regulation, or if you want goalie interference incidents to be reviewable, you may be in luck.
According to reports coming out of the general managers meetings this week in a Florida seaside resort, the NHL is going to try to implement both in 2015-16.
First, the move that could affect games at any time, before they move to the overtime/shootout coin flip: The general managers recommend allowing coaches who have not yet used their timeout to challenge calls like goalie interference on goals and the dreaded "puck over the glass" delay-of-game penalties.
In those circumstances, referees will be able to review the plays and consult with the war room in Toronto. From Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Elliotte Friedman:
GMs recommend coach's challenge on goalie int. Refs, with monitor in box and in consultation with Hockey Ops in TOR, will make call.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 17, 2015
Puck over glass will also be included in coaches challenge. Will be used to take penalty away if challenge is successful.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 17, 2015
And if a coach had no time-outs, can't call for a challenge.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 17, 2015
Coaches would lose their timeout if the challenge was unsuccessful.
More Overtime, Fewer Skaters, Less Shootout
Meanwhile, the NHL's now 30-year saga to reduce tie games while still making someone feel like a rightful winner continues. This began in the early '80s with the re-introduction of overtime (which at the time was 5-on-5), then evolved after each lockout to add more and more aspects to theoretically eliminate the idea that two teams could ever play 65 minutes without a winner being declared.
Thankfully, the league hasn't yet resorted to pie-eating contests. But to reduce shootouts, now the GMs are recommending adopting some form of what the AHL began using in overtime this season: Starting at 4 on 4, then cutting back to 3 on 3 at some point during the extra session.
This has led to fewer shootouts in the AHL this season. One hangup is whether the five-minute OT should be extended (it's seven minutes in the AHL now). A move like that, creating more work and minutes for the NHL's most-used players, would require agreement from the players association.
From tweets by Elliotte Friedman, McKenzie and Ren Lavoie:
On 3 on 3, GMs want it...will be up to NHL and NHLPA to sort out if right away at start of OT or later.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 17, 2015
NHL likes AHL model (three minutes of 4 on 4, followed by four minutes of 3 on 3) but five minutes of only 3 on 3 is possible.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 17, 2015
Now, if the league ever clearly communicates what constitutes a disallowed goal due to "kicking" motions, we'll be in hockey nirvana.