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No Easy Solution To Fix Goalie Interference

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

Sorry folks, there is no simple, straightforward, one-stroke-of-the-pen solution to the NHL’s goalie interference problem. As much as people from Mike Babcock to Jeremy Roenick are shrieking “Fix it!” and making noisy headlines, it’s just not that simple.

It’s taken the better part of three decades for the league to gradually create this thorny problem, and now there’s just no simple means of undoing all that’s been done. There are layers of history to this, and a league that always prefers elastic rules to black-and-white regulations isn’t going to be able to fix the controversial problem by this year’s playoffs and probably not by next season, either.

Remember, the league once had a relatively ironclad crease rule. Not even a baby toe in the crease was allowed. But people found it too nit-picky, and when Brett Hull scored the Stanley Cup winner in 1999 with his foot clearly in the crease, forcing NHL officials to simply make up a rules interpretation after the fact, it signalled the end of that method of litigating crease congestion.

Had that happened last spring, the guess here is the NHL would have stuck with the rule. As Gary Bettman’s regime has gained confidence over the years when it comes to changing rules, it has become far more immune to the criticism that always accompanies any kind of change in this conservative sport. Remember all the bellyaching about new slashing regs and faceoff rules last October? The league simply stuck with it, and by Christmas all the whining had disappeared.


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Steve in San Francisco's avatar

Putting a judgement call under the purview of replay review is just asking for trouble. Once it’s slowed to frame-by-frame, it’s human nature to start second-guessing yourself, and trying to find problems. And there are so many moving parts to making that call (in the crease? Pushed in? Contact? Attempt to get back? Unable to play position? etc etc etc) that no amount of review will satisfy both teams. It’s basically the no-win scenario.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 03/12/18 at 08:09 PM ET


Again, make the refs make a call. They’re extremely inconsistent.  Go for the goalie on every shot you can.  Make contact on every play.  Sure, some goals will be waved off, but who cares.  On the goals that go in with no call, the opposing team has to challenge.  The reviews are also inconsistent.  Some of those will get overturned, but again who cares.  You have a 50/50 chance that every goal is going to be reviewed at this point, or called off entirely.  Nobody knows which side of that line each goal is going to fall on.  Make the refs make a decision.  When you look at the vast gap between the Buffalo goal and the Pittsburgh non-goal plus penalty, the grey area is so big that you’re bound to get some going your way even if you straight up tackle the goalie.

Posted by PMP5030 on 03/13/18 at 07:00 AM ET


I think review should be there to fix the obviously-blown calls (player 3 feet offsides, the Glendening phantom goalie interference call, etc), but I don’t think micro-analyzing every close call is worth the hassle either.

Posted by RyanVM on 03/13/18 at 09:17 AM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

Exactly. Jettison the replay for everything except if the puck crossed the goal line. That’s really the only thing that matters.

But there’s what’s good for the game. What’s the fans want. The logical thing to do. And then



What the NHL will do.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 03/13/18 at 10:27 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.

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