There are plenty of subtle problems that irk fans, hockey writers and officials alike. Yet those problems aren’t so subtle when they amount to a crucial goal (or non-goal) being unclear despite having on-ice officials and many, many camera angles.
In an attempt to make it easier for goal judges, referees and the Toronto War Room to improve their accuracy when it comes to identifying goals, the NHL might just take a page out of the NFL’s book by adding a yellow line behind the goal line. I originally heard about this from Dave King’s comments in an NHL.com article, as you can see here.
Finally, King mentioned one of the more subtle changes that was tested Wednesday strictly for the Hockey Operations staff that work in the Toronto war room: The yellow verification line, which is situated behind the goal line and would be used in video reviews to determine if the puck did indeed cross the goal line. If the puck is seen touching the yellow line, it has to be a goal.
“Even with the replays, we still have situations where important goals are touch and go sometimes as to whether they are really in,” King said. “I think that line is going to add a little bit of help to the referees and the linesman and those replays will be good because the reviews will be clear.”
(click to enlarge)
This seems to me to be one of those slap-you-in-the-face simple solutions, even if it wouldn’t solve every goal dispute (especially with the nebulous “Intent to blow the whistle” rule still existing). Mirtle points out that league is also toying with putting a plexiglass top on nets so that goal reviews could be more clear that way, too.
Unlike a rather garish looking single faceoff circle in the middle of the offensive zone, adding a plexiglass top and that yellow “verification line” are simple yet useful ways to improve the game ever so slightly. Of all the ideas the NHL is floating during the research and development camp, those tiny tweaks might be the most agreeable.