BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — NHL general managers opened three days of meetings without action on two key items on the agenda — goalie interference and the possibility of three-on-three play in overtime.
Instead, discussions Monday centered on diving and embellishment, and protecting goaltenders in the crease. The NHL is debating whether it should tell referees which players are frequent offenders.
“One of the key questions before they departed the room was, ‘Do you want us informing the referees of who we think the individuals are who embellish more often than others?'” said Colin Campbell, the NHL executive vice president. “And for the most part, we had most of the managers agree. … It’s the hardest call on the ice for an official — embellishment.”
Any rule recommendations must go to the NHL/union competition committee and the Board of Governors before approval.
Tuesday’s discussion is expected to address goalie interference and whether video review, which can slow the game, is essential to making an accurate call.
“It’s the most contested area on the ice so it deserves a lot of attention,” Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said. “The referees are doing a great job. They’re all judgment calls, all split-second calls, they’re difficult calls. But they’re really getting the calls right.”
Concern also remains that too many games that go beyond regulation are ending in shootouts rather than in overtime.
This year, the American Hockey League’s decreased the number of games ending in shootouts by changing their overtime format. The AHL has increased overtime from five to seven minutes with four-on-four play until the first whistle after three minutes. Play is then three-on-three for the rest of the time.
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford likes the split format.
“It’s worked well in the AHL and I personally think it’s something we should look at it,” he said.
General managers are also expected to discuss emergency goaltending options. The Florida Panthers were left without a goalie when Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya were injured during a March 3 game against Toronto.
On Monday night, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is to be honored by the NHL for lifetime work. The 72-year-old Murray is the first active general manager to receive this annual award. He is undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer but has not ruled out staying on the job next year.
“I think that any time you’re recognized by your peer group, it is an honor and it’s a nice thing to have happen,” he said.
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