‘Buzz kill’ dry scrape gets scrapped by GMs

Ken Campbell
Dry scrape (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the NHL announced it would be adopting a dry scrape of the ice before the overtime period, it flew in the face of all the gains it had made since the 2004-05 lockout. Ever since then, the league had been obsessed with the flow of the game and keeping things moving along. Then to try to reduce the number of shootouts, it ground everything to a complete halt with the dry scrape.

Well, the scrape was scrapped yesterday when the GMs voted unanimously to get rid of it. The new rule, which will see two Zambonis replaced by good, old man and woman power behind shovels, will come into effect for Saturday’s game, meaning the dry scrape was an experiment that will have lasted a total of 294 games. Read more

Female referees to officiate Southern Pro game for Girl Scout Night

Jared Clinton
SPHLFeatured

On Friday, Nov. 21, when the Southern Pro League’s Columbus Cottonmouths take on the Fayetteville FireAntz, referees Erin Blair and Katie Guay will be making the calls.

Both highly decorated and with a ton of international experience, the female duo was selected to work the game, in partnership with the Cottonmouths and USA Hockey, as part of Columbus’ Girl Scout Night. Former NCAA players, Blair and Guay have been part of some of the most notable international women’s tournaments, and this will further add to their list of achievements. Read more

Coach’s Challenge would be right call for NHL

Stu Hackel
Mike Babcock

Phil Kessel picked up an outlet pass from Maple Leafs teammate Dion Phaneuf last Wednesday and sped down right wing into the Bruins zone. Near the faceoff dot, he snapped a shot past Tuukka Rask for the game’s first goal, the eventual game winner. Immediately Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and some teammates protested that Phaneuf’s clearing play had bounced off the glove of Toronto’s Roman Polak who was seated on the bench, and the play should have been killed, the goal disallowed.

During the next TV timeout, Boston coaches and players protested to the refs and, from his spot between the benches, the NBC Sports Network’s Pierre McGuire heard them and conveyed that to the US TV audience. Before the period had ended, NBC had shown the replay three more times as McGuire and his partner Mike Emrick batted around the topic of the NHL finally adopting a Coach’s Challenge. Read more

American League issues rule change after goaltender’s 2-on-0 antics

Jared Clinton
Leggio Overhead

American League goaltender David Leggio will now forever be remembered for the creation of what we can now call, “The Leggio Rule.”

On Sunday, Nov. 2, in a game in which Leggio’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers took on the visiting Springfield Falcons, a mishandled breakout turned into a shorthanded 2-on-0 attempt for the Falcons. Leggio, ever the quick thinker, took it into his own hands to nullify the attempt: Read more

Brutally blown calls make it clear: it’s time to expand NHL video replay

Adam Proteau
NHL referees Mike Leggo and Ian Walsh, and linesman Greg Devorski (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

The phrase “the straw that broke the camel’s back” is tossed around too often, but when it comes to expanded video review in the NHL, the goalie interference call assessed to Detroit’s Luke Glendening Wednesday night certainly qualifies. Thankfully, the spectacular botch job didn’t decide the game’s outcome, but the fact a call this bad could be agreed on between two referees should be deeply disconcerting to league officials and every team in the league.

The reality is the game’s speed makes it tougher than ever to assess the action, and when one of the referees goes down to injury as can occur, it makes expanded replay even more vital. And imagine what would happen if a similarly awful penalty/rescinded goal materialized in the final game of the regular season and the result of that game meant the difference between a team making or missing the playoffs. Imagine if a call like that went down during the playoffs – say, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final – and there were no option for the officials to skate over to the penalty box area, check a video monitor for a few brief minutes and make sure they got the call right. Fans and media of the team on the wrong end of such a predicament would go apoplectic, and rightfully so; any league unwilling to utilize technology readily available to assure the integrity of its game is a league painfully out of touch with what fans demand in return for their investments of time, money and emotion.

If it ever got to that point, the NHL would need to hold an IPO to raise its stock to laughing status. Read more

Worst NHL penalty of the season? Oh yeah. Definitely.

Luke Glendening and Karl Alzner (Getty Images)

Each NHL season has its share of botched calls from referees. We know going in that, as mere mortals, they’re bound to make errors trying to make sense of a lightning-fast game. However, some blown calls are so egregious, they stand out for years afterward. And one of those calls went down Wednesday night during the game between the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings. As a matter of fact, this might not have been one of the worst penalty calls of the year. It might be the worst in NHL history.

It was early in the first period in Washington when Capitals goalie Braden Holtby left his crease and went behind the net. As he tried to get back into position, Holtby tripped over his own skates – and the Red Wings pounced immediately, with Drew Miller grabbing the puck and firing it into the Caps’ net.

However – and inexplicably – the officiating duo of Mike Leggo and Ghislain Hebert decided the goal would not count and that Wings center Luke Glendening deserved a goalie interference penalty. As you can see, he deserved nothing of the sort: Read more

NHL on board with on-ice officials with five-year deal

Ken Campbell
Dan O'Halloran (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The NHL’s track record with negotiating contracts with its players without locking them out over the past decade has been horrendous. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with its on-ice officials. There hasn’t been a work stoppage with referees and linesemen since Doughnut-gate with Don Koharski in 1988 and there will not be one this season.

When the league opens the season with four games tonight, it will do so with labor harmony with its on-ice officials. Not that there was ever any doubt. For the past couple of months the league has been negotiating with its officials for a new deal and the talks were cordial and in good faith on both sides. And with the league and NHL Officials’ Association on the verge of signing a five-year deal, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, it is on the cusp of being official.

“It’s within a dot,” said a source with knowledge of the negotiations. “There might be one small thing here or there, but it’s really details. The basis for a deal has been settled and they’re very, very close. I think both sides want to make sure all the details are done before they make anything public.”

Read more

Will NHL’s new faceoff configuration lead to more goals, fewer fights?

Ken Campbell
NHL faceoff.  (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Monday was a busy day in the hockey world. With only two sleeps left until the start of the regular season, the Ryan Johansen signing and a couple of teams cutting loose their dancing bears, there was a lot of grist for the mill.

So it’s understandable that the league’s announcement that it would increase the distance between the hash marks for the offensive/defensive zone faceoff circles would fly under the radar a little bit. It’s not one of those sexy news items that allow people to jump to instant conclusions, such as declaring the enforcer in the NHL obsolete after seeing teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers go into the season with one on their rosters. Nice thought, but these guys seem to be the NHL’s version of the cockroach and I, for one, remain skeptical that we’ve seen the last of them. Read more