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Breaking: Bettman puts his foot down in the goalie interference saga

The coaches offered a solution, but Bettman has the deciding vote...

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It seems like a verdict has been decided as things have started heating up in Boca Raton, Florida, where all 31 general managers are meeting to discuss the hot topic of the hour in the National Hockey League. Yesterday, it was revealed that GMs had recommended that Hockey Ops (Situation Room in Toronto) takes over final decision for goalie interference challenges.

Now it seems like even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is on board. TSN insider Darren Dreger and colleague Gino Reda just reported that Bettman has confirmed that a retired official will be added to goalie interference review process. Hence the situation room will have final say.

Now it is still subject to NHLPA and NHL board approval, but it looks like coaches will get their way in this hot controversial topic. NHLPA has a conference call schedule tonight with their members to review the goalie interference process.

Arpon Basu published the commissioner's explanation to the upcoming changes vis-a-vis what the coaches were trying to accomplish when it came to goalie interference, especially after all the controversies that took place over the course of the season. 

“I think something positive will certainly come out of it,” Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello told media after Monday’s meeting broke. “We also have to be really careful in dwelling on that something is majorly wrong.”

Coaches had been given the option to challenge for goalie interference this season, with referees looking at a tablet by the penalty box while communicating with the league’s hockey operations department via headset. And it could all changed now... 

On Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman wanted to see a more uniform process when it came to goalie interference. 

“You can clarify the standards, but each referee, you and I, everyone has a different opinion,” he said. “It’s subjective, so no one’s ever going to agree 100 per cent on the vast majority of the calls.”

“Having maybe a smaller group make the final decision, get more consistency to it,” Yzerman added. And it now looks like he is a step closer to reaching a way to reduce the grey area on that part of the game. 

“You’re always going to have that element of judgment because goaltender interference is inherently a judgment call,” added Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. “The constant conversation is always there to try to make it better, that’s obviously what we spent a lot of time on.

“Define the criteria, feel comfortable with the criteria, and then in the end accept the judgment call.”

Other hot issues are being discussed at the meeting, notably offside calls, NHL playoff format and the long-term injury reserve. But you better believe that the goalie interference remains the hottest topic out there as things are now heating up, but also, heading towards a potential solution the teams, GMs and players included, will appreciate.