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.”
If you’re having trouble picturing that yellow line, here is a diagram from NHL.com (H/T to James Mirtle.)
(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.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.