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. And yes, you've guessed it, the main issue is the controversy on goalie interference: the calls, the non-calls, the overturned decisions and star players openly criticizing referees on and off the ice.
“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...
According to many sources, and amongst them TSN's own Frank Seravalli, the general managers are looking to get a major change to how the goalie interference violations are being judged and looked at. Seravalli reports that "GMs have recommended that Hockey Ops (Situation Room in Toronto) takes over final decision for goalie interference challenges. Now in the process of seeking NHLPA approval, as well as NHL Officials Association."
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.