Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Getting The Call Right

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Here’s an idea I’ve heard that has some merit: Why not a third ref that watches the game from the press box with access to HD replay, etc.? He could review, on the spot, all the controversial calls and help reverse them in obvious cases like Backes and Desjardins, communicating directly to the refs just like the war room does on goal reviews. 

The downside? It further slows down the game, which goal reviews already do as well. 

But it’s something worth thinking about, in my opinion. 

Another idea that’s already finding new life after being bandied about in years past is the merit of a "Coach’s Challenge," where a coach could challenge a penalty and ask for it to be reviewed. Two NHL head coaches reached out this week to me and suggested it’s time to renew that debate. 

I don’t mind it, but prefer the first idea. My fear with the coach’s challenge is that coaches would want to challenge anything near the end of games out of desperation. The first idea involves a neutral person.

more hockey topics 

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink


J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Review contact to the head penalties, yes.

Only way I’m cool with a coach’s challenge is if getting it wrong means a delay of game penalty and even then only if the game will potentially be extended for as long as that penalty runs.

Last thing I want is for a coach who’s up by one late in a game without a timeout challenging something stupid to give his guys time to rest…. or doing that even knowing he’s going to get a penalty that’s only going to cost his team 5 seconds before time expires.

One of my favorite things about hockey is how little the end of the game gets slowed down compared to football and basketball.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/13 at 05:12 PM ET


Well if slowing down the game is an issue, they could take out the new and new-ish “Delay of Game” penalties—namely, passing the puck with your hand on a faceoff, putting your hand over the puck (used to be only in the crease) and the one everyone hates—puck over the glass.  Nothing slows the game more than stopping play when it is not necessary to stop it, and then calling a penalty on top of that.  For the puck over the glass, a faceoff is a lot faster than a penalty and a faceoff.

Posted by MrMontagoose on 02/06/13 at 05:36 PM ET

perfection's avatar

delay of game penalty is way too severe. I think they should have coaches challenge but you have to have a timeout to use it. if you’re wrong, you lose the timeout, if you aren’t, you don’t. I know it won’t totally stop the end of game challenges, but there has to actually be something to challenge, meaning a penalty or goal allowed/disallowed. it’s not like this happens at the end of every game.

also, because a lot of calls are truly marginal and exist in a gray area, they should use the same criteria as football. basically, anything marginal goes with the call on the ice, period. it has to conclusively be the wrong call to be overturned. even if they don’t extend the challenges to all penalty calls (which really could be absurd), they should definitely allow it for waved off goals at the least (I think this is even more important than head shots). I just don’t think refs can simultaneously watch for penalties in front of the net, watch for the puck crossing the line, AND accurately tell who initiates contact with the goalie or where EXACTLY a skate is at the point of the shot. since this is only an issue when goals are at stake, it’s a lot bigger deal than minor penalties. and generally speaking, a lot of the waved off goals are quite obviously not interference. there’s just no excuse for the league to not make sure this gets as accurate as possible, whatever that takes. you can review every one of them for all I care. it’s not like goals are disallowed all that often. it wouldn’t slow up the game that much. the official in the press box should be well on his way to a call by the time the ref even skates from the goal to the phone.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/13 at 05:37 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Here’s something that might help: why not get together like the officials do in the NFL and discuss each call before it is announced. In the NFL, they will talk and if they decide that it really wasn’t a penalty, they’ll pick up the flag. In the NHL, it’s a penalty because I said so, no ifs, ands or butts. Let the linesmen even put their two cents in.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 02/06/13 at 05:40 PM ET

perfection's avatar

so I’m with you on that Chris, but that wouldn’t help with goalie interference since the ref by the net is generally the only official with the proper angle to tell goalie interference. It’s almost impossible to call accurately from the blue line or center ice.

the more I think about it the less I like coaches challenges, especially for regular penalty calls. there’s too much diving, makeup calls, “letting them play”, etc. for this to enter into the equation. there’s a certain fluidity to NHL officiating. it’s definitely not objective nor consistant. this can obviously be a fault, but I also think it’s a strong point. games that are getting “out of hand” demand more refereeing while really tight good games demand the refs stay out of it. I’m ok with this generally. I know a lot of people don’t like the inconsistency, but I happen to be ok with not calling some ticky tack little hold because it’s Game 7 OT. this happens in EVERY sport by the way. Football for instance is notorious for NEVER calling pass interference on a hail mary at the end of a game. understandably, the refs don’t want to “decide the game”... unless its flagrant and would be an embarrassment to the official if he didn’t call it.

with all of that said, they should just simply review goals called off because of interference OR incidental contact. if it’s so close it’s hard to tell even in slo-mo, then just stick with the call on the ice. if it’s obviously a good goal, call it a good goal. it would honestly be a lot quicker review than some of the warroom calls over whether the puck crossed the line. goals are just too important in this league of parity to not try and get it right.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/13 at 06:06 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Perfection, I think that all disputed calls should be reviewed when it comes to goals. What I was really referring to as far as the NFL style officiating would be for other calls like penalties.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 02/06/13 at 06:41 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


Recommended Sportsbook