When the NHL’s competition committee meets this week the topic of discussion will focus on two main areas according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.
Those two areas: video reviews of offside plays, and the way slashing is enforced by the on-ice officials during games.
Let’s start with the former because that subject has received quite a bit of attention this postseason, especially after the Nashville Predators had a goal taken away early in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final due to an offside review that was decided by the narrowest of margins.
Said Kypreos, “the conversation can range from eliminating it altogether to changing the way you challenge it.”
The criticism of the replay review often ranges from the fact it can take too long, to that some of the reviews are so close that it is almost impossible to tell if a player had his skate off the ice or cross the line before the puck. The argument from the anti-review crowd is that the rule wasn’t put into place to analyze goals down to the very last inch and was only there to correct glaring mistakes. But at his annual state of the league press conference before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the replay review system is working exactly as it was intended to work, and that the league will continue to enforce the offside rule.
Speaking of enforcing rules, that brings us to the topic of slashing which will also apparently be a focal point for the committee.
Kypreos mentions that the NHL has been monitoring slashing this season and figures that there are as many as 80 slashes per game. That, obviously, is a lot, especially when you consider it is only a 60 minute game. That is more than a slash per minute.
It is also something that has been noticed quite a bit this season given some very specific incidents, including Sidney Crosby‘s slash on Marc Methot that ended with the latter having his finger busted open, as well as Johnny Gaudreau being injured after he was the target of repeated slashes from the Minnesota Wild.
It’s almost as if teams have taken the “they can’t call everything” approach and just gone all in with the stick work.
Given the number of slashes that do happen it is unlikely that will ever happen, but it is still something that can — and should — be enforced more than it is.