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NHL will not review high-sticking calls this season as questions remain

BELLEVILLE, Ont. - Colin Campbell believes that when it comes to video review, the NHL does it right.

In order to keep to that standard, the league has reversed course and will not use video review to look high-sticking penalties this season according to Campbell, the league executive vice-president and director of hockey operations.

The competition committee had agreed to review all high-sticking calls for validity, but on Saturday Campbell said concerns about goals scored on delayed penalties led the NHL to cancel that plan for 2013-14.

"We're punting right now," Campbell said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "We're going to watch it, we're going to talk about it and see how many times it happens. We just don't want to do something that we weren't totally comfortable with on video review. We want everything to be clear and precise, and we didn't think that was."

Campbell credited New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello for bringing the issues to the league's attention. Campbell broached the possibility of a delayed penalty late in a game with the goalie pulled leading to a goal, and there was no consensus on what to do in that situation.

"Sometimes you just got to be careful, just like with the high stick, that you don't lean on technical support too much when there's other issues you've got to get straight," he said. "The unintended circumstance there, it's clear with that one. We never even thought about that."

The intent of reviewing high-sticking calls was to make sure that a player was not penalized if it wasn't his stick that struck an opponent in the face. Campbell pointed to an incident last season with Shawn Matthias of the Florida Panthers in a game against the Devils as an example of a play that would have been reviewed.

Instead, the NHL will wait and see.

"We don't want to do something that will cause more problems," Campbell said.

Campbell said there hasn't been serious consideration given to reviewing puck-over-the-glass penalties to see if it went off an opponent's stick or touched the glass. He supports the rule, which many coaches and defencemen have protested.

"It's something that when we changed all the rules after '04-05 we established a thought process. ... Let's reward offence and punish defence," Campbell said. "So when your team's all over my team in the end zone and I find a way to get the puck out, even if it's accidental, the glass is six feet—five or six feet. When I played it was three feet. These guys are good enough—don't shoot it over."

Campbell would like to see offside calls reviewed, but only in the event that a goal is scored on the play in question.

"We'd have to put camera work at the blue-lines or at least see more than we see now because I really hate when a goal's scored when it's offside," he said. "That's my own personal request. We'll probably talk about it at the next meeting."

Hybrid icing is being experimented with during the pre-season, with a final decision for the regular season to come after exhibition games. Shallower nets will be used this season, and all players coming into the NHL or with 25 or fewer games of experience must wear visors.

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