Is It Time For A Coaches Video challenge?


Video Challenge or Video Review

Every couple of days or at least 2 or 3 times a week, it is not uncommon to see a controversial call or non-call from a NHL game replayed on the sports networks over and over again.  Fans often ask if it is so obvious why don’t the referees watch the replay and get the call right?  In a perfect world that would make sense to most of us but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Right now video review is used to determine the following:

1. did the puck completely cross the goal line.
2. net off moorings
3. expiration of time
4. puck batted in
5. puck kicked or directed in
6. goal where puck is contacted by stick above the crossbar
7. puck off of official and into net
8. penalty shots and shoot-out goals

That is 8 different scenarios where video review can be implemented so you can understand the leagues apprehension to add more.  The current amount of video review has caused some small delays but as long as the call is made correctly everybody seems to be OK with a delay now and then.

Today we live in a high tech world and we have all this wonderful  technology at our disposal and I believe that if we have the technology why not use it to get the calls correct.  Most hockey fans would agree that with the speed of the game the referees do a pretty good job of getting it right but why not give them a little help.  It will be argued that you don’t want to take the human element out of the game and I can buy that.  It will be argued that you don’t want to slow the game down with needless delays and I can buy that.  What I can’t buy is the age old argument that this is the way it’s always been so don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.  

I guess the part about video review that concerns the NHL is where do you draw the line and what kind of parameters do you set for what is review-able and what is not.  I guess you could determine that by asking the GM’s and Coaches to submit a wish list and go from there.  Would it be the end of the world if a coach was allowed 1 or maybe even 2 challenges a game?  I don’t want to see coaches using the video review as a ploy to sneak in an extra time-out or two either but I don’t want to see coaches being punished for losing a video challenge either.  To me it’s not about punishing the challenger if he/she is wrong, it is about getting the call right.  

It usually seems that most controversial plays seem to happen in and around the goal crease.  Was it goalie interference? Was the player in the crease or was he pushed in?  To me this is still the rule or lack of a rule that frustrates most hockey fans.  The league went from zero tolerance to open season on the goalie and the goal crease.  The hardest thing for a NHL referee to determine in real time is whether the player went into the crease area on his own or whether he was pushed in by the opposing teams player.  This is where the video review could have it’s biggest impact.

Hockey is a fast paced game and sometimes getting a call right, even with different angles of video can be challenging. Imagine the immense pressure the 2 NHL officials are under every night.  The pressure is even more intensified come playoff time where a wrong call could cost a team a championship, ask the Buffalo Sabres.  

So, I guess the questions are:
1. Are you in favor of allowing the coaches 1 or 2 challenges per game?
2. Would you like to see the NHL expand their own parameters on what’s review-able and let the on-ice official ask for the review if he feels there was a play in doubt?
3. Are you happy with the way the game is reviewed now?

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