Oilers GM talks goalie interference reviews: ‘It’s a tough framework to establish’

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The Edmonton Oilers dropped Game 5 of their second-round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night thanks in large part to an historic late-game collapse that saw them give up three goals in the final four minutes of regulation.

The third goal came with a bit of controversy after it was upheld following a review for goaltender interference.

That ruling left several members of the Oilers (specifically Milan Lucic) feeling a little confused on what interference actually is, especially since it is the second time in this series they had a goalie interference review go against them.

On Saturday, general manager Peter Chiarelli had a chance to speak to the media and discussed the rule and review process. He admitted that there is some frustration building.

Not because the calls were necessarily wrong, but because they seem to keep going against his team.

“There is a frustration level building,” said Chiarelli. “But it’s not really not because of anything the NHL hockey ops does. It is not because of the process. It is because the calls have gone against us. I know the process these guys go through and I have discussions after the fact with NHL hockey ops. And we as GMs have voted this stuff in, and there is a group that reviews these things, and they came through with a ruling, and unfortunately the last two have gone against us.”

Chiarelli was asked if he has a clear idea of what goaltender interference looks like at this point.

“We have a general framework,” said Chiarelli. “We’ve got incidental contact in the white. Incidental contact in the blue. We’ve got guys being pushed in. We’ve kind of set out that criteria, the GMs have. They tweak it a little, but it’s to our knowledge when they do it and they talk to us. We have our own way of interpreting it too. Like if they can tweak it a little, in our minds we can tweak it a little bit. We look at last night, I see two points of interference. One was caused by our own player pushing a player in. The other was caused by their player in my mind. So it was a difference of opinions.”

The replay system for goaltender interference has faced some criticism due to the apparent subjectivity that seems to exist, and Chiarelli was asked if the process has produced some unintended consequences.

Chiarelli does not see it that way.

“I don’t really put unintended consequences on this process,” said Chiarelli. “It’s just refining the interpretation. It’s tough. It’s a tough framework to establish. There is so many nuances. The other night [Game 4] it’s about was there contact in the white or contact in the blue. For me there was both. But we have constructive dialogue among the GM’s and the NHL and we’ll figure it out. I like the rule. I like the video review. But it was hard to take last night though.”

You can see Chiarelli’s entire media availability by clicking here.

After winning the first two games of the series in Anaheim the Oilers have now dropped three games in a row and are facing elimination on Sunday when the series returns to Edmonton.