NHL to give officials ‘refresher’ on goaltender interference reviews

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TAMPA — The debate over what should represent goaltender interference ratcheted up a notch this weekend when both Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid had goals disallowed, much to their dismay.

Players aren’t sure. Coaches aren’t sure. General managers aren’t sure. So on Saturday afternoon, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and head of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell, met with a handful of officials, GMs and head coaches in town for All-Star Weekend in Tampa to go over Rule 78.7 which deals with goaltender interference reviews.

“Overall, the system works, but I think we’ve gotten to the point where everybody’s overthinking the review. The intention, particularly on goaltender interference, is: ‘Did you miss something?’ ‘Was there a glaring error?’ Not, ‘Can you search for something that might overturn the call?’ And I think the consensus of the meeting: it’s really more we need to give a refresher and we’ll send a memo to the officials. Take a quick look, but don’t search it to death.

“The presumption should be the call on the ice was good unless you have a good reason to overturn it. You shouldn’t have to search for a good reason.”

Officials will get some clarity from the league on the rule going forward, with everyone hoping a better understanding can be had for players, coaches, executives and fans, and media.

“The language of the rule is 78.7. It was actually pretty clear and we refreshed everyone in the room with respect to the language of the rule and the intention of the rule, and that’s going to be re-emphasized to the officials,” Daly said.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.