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NHL general managers still trying to define coaches’ challenge

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault pulls his goaltender during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals against the Montreal Canadiens, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Montreal. Montreal won 7-4
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New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault pulls his goaltender during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals against the Montreal Canadiens, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Montreal. Montreal won 7-4. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

NEW YORK – The NHL’s general managers want a coaches’ challenge. They just don’t know what kind of plays they want the coaches to challenge yet. 

“Could we use a coach's challenge in certain areas? I think that's probably almost unanimous,” said Don Maloney, general manager of the Phoenix Coyotes. “It's defining the areas and defining the criteria. That's when it gets muddy, and that's where we're at right now.”

If and when expanded video review arrives, expect it to be limited to “black-and-white” plays like questionable onside calls that lead to goals; pucks that fly over the glass for delay of game penalties; and pucks that hit the mesh netting in the attacking zones that go undetected by officials on plays that lead to goals.

“I think Commissioner Bettman says it best: You want certainty, you want black-and-white where we can say, 'This is it' and 'This is not it.' Goals going over the line, that's certainty, black-and-white,” said Maloney. “When you start talking about goalie interference for example, now you start talking about judgment calls.”

That might be frustrating news for many fans that want to see oversight on goalie interference, one of the most inconsistently enforced and game-changing calls in hockey. But as Colin Campbell of the NHL and Mathieu Schneider of the NHLPA said earlier in the week: There’s the “expectation of certainty” on video reviews and “it’s just not there.”

So it’ll be baby steps at first, as the coaches’ challenge begins with these less subjective calls. Now it’s just a matter of how to implement it in a timely manner.

“As technology is expanding, our game's expanding, I think we're going to get there with the coach's challenge, just maybe not today,” said Maloney.

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