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Kerry Fraser suggests that referee-based video review might help officials ‘get it right’

Every once in a while you sort of stare at a story, put it aside for a while, come back to it and have no idea where it belongs but you know that it's really good and that you have to put it somewhere.

The long story is that ESPN's Katie Strang spoke with the coach of a team this biased blogger happens to believe has come up on the rough end of some discretionary calls in Mike Babcock, the NHL's director of officiating, Stephen Walkom, and the outspoken Kerry Fraser about the fact that, last Thursday, Jarret Stoll was assessed a penalty for tripping Brandon Sutter, but Sutter fell over (there's actually a video of this if you're interested)...

And the refs made the penalty call, had a chat and chose to rescind the call. Which is new:

Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser said it is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, and though it is customary to give the official closer to the infraction the benefit of the doubt, that’s not an absolute, especially if the other official feels confident enough to overturn it. After all, each official is granted the same authority on the ice.

"The way the officials handled that call was an excellent example of thinking quickly on your feet and doing what's right for the game when possible," the NHL's Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom told ESPN.com. "Hockey Ops and the officiating department want our guys to work together to get it right whenever possible. In this modern era of hockey you often see officials huddling or overturning each other to get it right. The handling of this situation, like video review, is always evolving to best serve the game."

The long story, and the thrust of the story, involves Fraser suggesting that in light of that Luke Glendening-"must have tripped"-Braden Holtby call, maybe the NHL's GM's and Board of Governors might be more willing to adopt something that NCAA hockey, AHL hockey and other leagues.

Instead of what the NHL insists is "opening a Pandora's Box" (and Pandora is not just a streaming music service) in, y'know, reviewing every instance in which a goal goes in the net or something and overturning the refs' decisions if they goofed, Fraser suggests that referees instead be given access to TV replays in the penalty box so that the refs can save face I mean "get it right" themselves. And I hate to say this, but Fraser may have a point here:

"I personally have advocated for -- and refs want this. They want to make their own reviews in a secure location, maybe inside the penalty box, when it comes to goaltender interference, which is the most difficult call to make and the one that is made wrong the most often," Fraser explained.

At least one league source pointed out that reversing such a judgment call brings up fears about opening "Pandora's box" and fundamentally changing the way the game is administered.

...

Fraser also said he has seen the in-game monitor used by officials at the college level, a process he finds to be faster than delegating the decision to the situation room in Toronto.

Expanded video review is expected to be a topic of discussion at the general managers meeting this month, at which Fraser hopes it will continue to gain traction.

"There's at least some movement afoot that they should be reviewing plays," Fraser said. "But those calls should be made by referees and not a former player."

 

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+sutter, jarret+stoll, kerry+fraser, stephen+walkom

Comments

Chet's avatar

the dinos that run the nhl need to grasp digital video. they all get bad hits on their iPads and say they’re ok while rule violations allow or disallow legit results nearly nightly.

we see it all the time and it’s not just one team being affected. *#$%@& gong show, as is the league’s handling.

THERE’S VIDEO. USE IT.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/04/14 at 06:40 AM ET

Avatar

Every goal or no-goal call should be reviewed. The excuse that this will make games longer is dumb. Would they rather get the calls right or add extra 5 minutes to games. There are not that many controversial goals in a game, so this won’t take that long and they already have the technology for it.
Toronto reviews all goals anyway.

Posted by George0211 on 11/04/14 at 07:49 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

As an aside:

I often see folks talking about the NHL’s long-standing desire to keep the game moving as if this reflects the NHL’s worry that games will take too long to play.

Although total-length-of-game-time is an issue in other sports, most notably in baseball, this isn’t what the NHL is worried about.

The NHL wishes to limit ALL breaks on the 20’min clock & to limit-as-best-as-they-can the amount of time during each break in the 20’min clock.

Basketball, Football, and Hockey(as clock-based sports) all began as contests where stamina and fatigue were integral facets of the sport. Over the years both basketball and football(led by the NBA and the NFL) generally abandoned this for a number of reasons. In the last few decades both the NBA and the NFL have created ever-increasing numbers of breaks in the 24’min and 15’min clocks - mostly in order to maximize commercial-time but also to enable the best players to receive enough down-time so that the best players can stave off fatigue and remain on the court or the field.

Decades ago, when I started watching the NHL on TV, the NHL fought hard against stopping the action long enough so that TV-stations could run commercials. I remember often have the local station returning from a TV-break only to learn that there’d be a penalty or a goal while they were away.

The reason the NHL didn’t want TV time-outs was because as a tradition-soaked sport they worried about losing the fast-paced, fatigue-causing, contest-of-stamina that hockey was from its’ inception.

Of course, eventually the NHL allowed TV-time outs in all NHL games in order to increase revenues.

Nonetheless, The NHL continues to sacrifice commercial revenue by strictly limiting the number of TV time-outs. And by instituting rules for when TV time-outs can be used they tried their best to retain the most important facets of the tradition.

* No TV time-outs for the first 6’min of a period, so that players don’t get an extended rest so early in the period and so that there’s a chance for fatigue to begin to set in.
* No TV time-outs during a penalty, so that the team killing a penalty doesn’t get an extended break to get their wind back.
* No TV time-outs after an icing, so that the team that’s being punished by being unable change players don’t get a chance for an extended break so they can get their breath back.
* No TV time-outs during OT, so that players do not ever get an extended break during OT

and…

* No TV time-outs after a goal, so that the team which just gave up a goal doesn’t get an extended break to get their heads together and re-set themselves.

This is the mindset of folks who don’t want more breaks.

They are not worrying about games lasting too long, they are worrying about players being able to get extended breaks during the 20’min clock because this will change the game and lessen the importance of stamina.

Personally I think the technology has advanced enough that I don’t begrudge the limited goal review we currently have AND I believe there’s room for even more review.

Nonetheless… I don’t want to see the NHL evolve into a league where the players with better-than-normal endurance(like Howe and Orr and Gretzky and… Datsyuk) don’t succeed more than than peers because everyone gets plenty of time to rest while the 20;min clock is running.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/04/14 at 11:43 AM ET

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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.

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