Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

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

11/04/2014 at 1:00am EST

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."

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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.

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