What does NHL’s new rule mean for ‘intent to blow’ calls?

What does NHL’s new rule mean for ‘intent to blow’ calls?

The NHL released details on a slate of new rules for the 2014-15 season on Thursday, but hockey fans were a little hazy on one of them regarding video goal reviews. 

From the NHL:

Rule 38.4 (viii) has been modified to allow broader discretion to Hockey Operations to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g., to ensure they are “good hockey goals”). The revised Rule will allow Hockey Operations to correct a broader array of situations where video review clearly establishes that a “goal” or “no goal” call on the ice has been made in error. The new expanded rule will also allow Hockey Operations to provide guidance to referees on goal and potential goal plays where the referee has blown his whistle (or intended to blow his whistle) after having lost sight of the puck.

Instead of finding a map, a flashlight and a decoder ring to figure out what this means, we decided to reach out to the NHL about this tweak to video reviews and found out some good news: It directly targets the most head-slapping obvious goals that are wiped away via “Intent To Blow.”

“Many times, the puck is at the net, it’s lost, the referee blows his whistle as the puck gets knocked in. It’s almost a simultaneous situation,” said NHL VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy.

“There are other times when the puck goes into the net for a pulse or two and then the referee blows the whistle or the intent to blow it is there. He’s blocked out, shielded from the puck. The puck is clearly in the net.”

It’s that latter scenario that this rule addresses. Not the “bang bang” play in which the puck crossed the line as the ref loses sight of it and then ends the sequence; but those times when, during a scrum, the puck slides over and is tucked near the goal post for a few moments before the referee blows it dead.

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Previously, the War Room couldn’t overturn that call. A dead puck was a dead puck. Now, they can explain to the referee that the puck was in the net for enough time before his whistle that it should count as a goal.

“We have the ability to say, ‘No, the puck was in,’” said Murphy.

So it deals with situations like this from Nov. 2009, involving the Detroit Red Wings and the Dallas Stars:

So five years later, they’ve addressed it! (Sigh.) 

There was a time when the referees might push back on this, but that time has passed.

“They were on board. They don’t like that happening anyways,” Murphy said.

The tricky part is going to be establishing the acceptable time for the puck to be over the line before the “intent to blow” happens. Murphy says “a pulse”; can’t wait to see how that gets defined.