Expanded video review in the National Hockey League is a good thing. A very good thing. As long as it’s limited to particular situations and doesn’t slow the game down to cricket match-levels, we’re golden.
The fact that double-minor high-sticking penalties will be under review is something for which were excited about in the 2013-14 season. Four minutes of power-play time on a play in which a player is cut by his own teammate’s stick is an egregious error. Now, it can be corrected.
But not without some headaches in the early stages of this innovation.
Stu Hackel of Sports Illustrated provided some needles for our balloons with a piece on NHL replay this week. Wrap your grey matter around this scenario:
And then one must take into account all of the penalty's possible scenarios. How to do that is something the Hockey Operations Department has been trying to work through this summer. Let's say, for example, a player is going to be whistled for high sticking. The ref signals a delayed call, the team that was fouled pulls its goalie and scores a goal with the extra man. The ref then checks the player who was struck and signals a double minor, but the review in Toronto indicates that, in fact, he was injured by his own or a teammate's stick. What the hell happens then?
We’re imagining that the goal would count.
Yes, the phantom penalty call allowed Team X to pull its goalie and score, which is unfortunate. But all Team Y had to do was possess the puck to end the sequence. Taking partisan emotion out of that scenario, wouldn’t that be the logical decision? Or should the goal be wiped away along with the penalty?
Anyhoo, that’s one of the many headaches associated with what is otherwise a glorious, overdue development for the NHL. Can you think of others?