National Hockey League referees have been highly criticized this season and officiating will be a main topic of discussion when league general managers meet next week in Toronto.
“I got a call asking me if there was anything I wanted to put on the agenda and I said, ‘Officiating,'” one undisclosed general manager told the Toronto Sun, “and I was told another GM had already tabled 37 items to do with officiating.”
The latest frustration with officiating and inconsistent calls came from the Nashville Predators’ camp following a 7-4 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
Predators coach Barry Trotz was not pleased with the officials’ decision following a video review of Jannik Hansen’s goal late in the third period.
He and defenseman Shea Weber also took issue with a hooking call to Sergei Kostitsyn that resulted in a Henrik Sedin penalty shot goal with less than three minutes remaining in the third period of what was, prior to the call, a one-goal hockey game.
The idea of a coach’s challenge, similar to that in the National Football League, has also been brought up.
Last month, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Globe and Mail he was open to the idea of a coach’s challenge.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…