By Brad Schlossman
For the second time during this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, a poor call played a large role in the outcome of a critical game.
On Wednesday night, the San Jose Sharks scored an overtime winner on a play that should have been whistled dead because of a hand pass. In the NHL, it is not a reviewable play. The referees huddled after the goal, but were not allowed to review it. So, the goal stood. The Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues to take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Sharks were the beneficiaries of a five-minute major penalty in Game 7 (they scored four goals on the ensuing power play to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead). Replays showed that the penalty shouldn’t have been a major.
In college hockey, both of these plays would have been reviewable either by referee discretion or by a coach’s challenge.
Rule 93.4 states that video review can be used “to determine if a goal was scored as the direct result of a hand pass or high stick by an attacking player to a teammate or deflection off of the goalkeeper.”
While some believe college hockey games are getting too bogged down by video review, this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs will most likely force the NHL to move closer toward college hockey’s review model.
Not only are there more reviewable plays in college hockey via referee discretion, but a coach can challenge quite a bit, provided the coach has a timeout left.
Here’s a list of plays that are reviewable either by referee discretion or by a coach challenge:
1. A puck crossing the goal line.
2. A puck entering the net before the goal frame is dislodged.
3. A puck entering the net before or after a stoppage in play (ex. end of period, official’s whistle).
4. A puck directed into the net by a hand or a distinct kicking motion.
5. A puck deflected into the net by an official.
6. To correctly identify individuals who participated in a fight or committed an infraction.
7. To establish the correct time on the clock or determine the correct location of a faceoff.
8. To determine if an attacking player prevented the goalie from defending the goal in accordance with Rule 73 (goalie interference).
9. To determine if a goal was scored as the direct result of a hand pass or a high stick by an attacking player to a teammate or deflection off of the goalie (one that would have come in handy for St. Louis on Wednesday night).
10. To determine if a goal was scored before a penalty infraction occurred.
11. To allow the on-ice officials to review infractions that may result in the ejection of a player (one that would have come in handy for Vegas in Round 1).
12. To determine if a goal was scored as a result of an offside play or as the result of an undetected too many men on the ice infraction by the attacking team. The opportunity for review exists during the time the puck entered the attacking zone illegally as a result of the offside infraction and until the puck either: A. Leaves the offending team’s attacking zone; B. A stoppage of play occurs and a faceoff is conducted; C. The defending team gains possession and control of the puck. A coach’s challenge must be used initiate this review unless it’s in the last 10 minutes of the third period or in overtime. In the last 10 minutes of the third and overtime, officials can review it on their discretion.
13. To determine if a goal was scored as a direct result of the puck deflecting off of the protective netting above the glass by the first team to gain possession of the deflected puck. A coach’s challenge must be used to have this reviewed.
14. A puck directed or deflected into the net by a high stick. A coach’s challenge mustbe used to have this reviewed.
Coaches keep their timeouts if they win their challenge. They lose their timeout if they lose the challenge.
College hockey’s rules aren’t perfect. There are things that need to be cleaned up.
The fact that officials do not have the discretion to review a puck deflected by a high stick directly into the net (only can be reviewed by a coach challenge, see No. 14), but they do have the discretion to see if a high stick deflected the puck to a teammate who scored (see No. 9) makes little sense.
There also has been talk about putting the onus on the coach to risk a challenge to get a review under more circumstances, which is why the Rules Committee recently changed Nos. 13 and 14 to be reviewable only by coach’s challenge.
That all needs continued work. But for all of the talk about reviews this season in college hockey, and the slowing of the game, many NHL followers — fans, media and coaches — are ready to go in college’s direction.
WCHA adopts 3×3 on women’s side
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, which has long been the most dominant conference in women’s hockey, will be the first to adopt 3-on-3 overtimes to break ties for conference points only.
This continues a trend seen on the men’s side: All of the Western-based leagues use 3-on-3s to break ties for conference points only, but none of the Eastern-based leagues do it.
- Larry Mahoney of the Bangor (Maine) Daily News reported that Hockey East coaches have asked athletic directors to return to the 11-team conference tournament format, which includes every team in the playoffs. This spring, it was an eight-team event. Three teams didn’t qualify.
- Frozen Four-participant Providence is getting hammered by early departures. Friars junior forward Kasper Bjorkqvist signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins this week, giving up his final year of college eligibility. He will be the fifth player to leave Providence early. Junior forward Josh Wilkins (Nashville Predators), junior defenseman Jacob Bryson (Buffalo Sabres) and junior defenseman Brandon Duhaime (Minnesota Wild) all previously signed NHL deals, while freshman first-round NHL draft pick Jay O’Brien has entered the transfer portal. On top of that, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the Ottawa Senators have interviewed Providence head coach Nate Leaman, who spent last weekend at the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup in Blaine, Minn. NHL teams have dipped into the college ranks to grab three head coaches since 2015 — UND’s Dave Hakstol (Philadelphia Flyers), Denver’s Jim Montgomery (Dallas Stars) and Boston University’s David Quinn (New York Rangers).
- One-time UND goalie recruit Keegan Karki of St. Cloud, Minn., has signed with Everett in the Western Hockey League, giving up his college eligibility. UND received a commitment from Karki in March 2016, but opted to remove him from its commitment list 11 months later because of off-ice reasons. Karki has played for the U.S. Under-17 and 18 teams, the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League and the Corpus Christi IceRays in the NAHL.
- A pair of former Grand Forks Central players have made college commitments. Forward Boe Bjorge, who played for the Thief River Falls Norskies the past two seasons, has committed to play for NCAA D-III St. Scholastica in Duluth. Bjorge piled up 81 points in 56 games for the Norskies this season. Forward Gunnar Gibbs, meanwhile, has committed to Jamestown College, which plays in the ACHA.
- Denver defenseman Sean Comrie, who played in 18 games as a freshman (no goals, one assist), has signed with Kelowna in the WHL, giving up his college eligibility. Comrie didn’t suit up in any playoff games for the Pioneers, who reached the NCAA Frozen Four in Buffalo. Denver is set to lose one defenseman — senior grad transfer Les Lancaster — so Comrie’s playing time may have been limited again.