Why is it that the NHL looks at every goal to make sure it was a good goal, and yet can still miss the application of a simple rule on a “good goal”? This is directly due to the fact that the NHL thinks that its referees do not need the benefit of replay to call the game correctly. I listen to Bettman on his weekly XM Radio show and he states that the game is too fluid to use replay to check things. I disagree and here is my way to allow replay to have impact on a hockey game without ruining the flow of the sport. The ending of the Winter Classic 2010 was no forever ruined by the 4 on-ice officials missing the Bruins with too-many men on the ice penalty. This led to a 3 on 2 for Boston (who had 2 defensemen back) and directly to a goal in OT with over 5 million people watching on TV. Oopps!
Here is my plan. At any stoppage in the game the coach can call for a play to be inspected by video. He has to make his case for what is to be looked at. In can be a penalty, a goal, an offside, hand pass, etc. The “challenge” must occur before the puck is dropped to restart play. For example, a player is cut with a high stick that goes unnoticed live. The coach challenges the fact that at or near a certain time, a player was high sticked and the play can be reviewed. It should only take a few seconds since every arena has a video replay system in place and personnel to watch it for goals as well as the “War Room” in Toronto. The time for the replay can be limited to 90 seconds (a standard commercial break) and if non-conclusive, the game resumes. Otherwise the infraction is called and time is reset. Each team can have 1 challenge per game and must choose how to use it. However, if a team challenges a play after their challenge, they run the risk for a delay of game if they are wrong.
This policy would allow teams to stop complaining about officials (somewhat), and let the officials benefit from a little slow motion replay. This is the fastest game on the planet and the only one were the referees do not get the benefit of replay assistance.
How would this look in its application. Here is a total fabrication. A team is trailing by a goal with 3 minutes left in the game and is called for a hooking penalty. This would virtually end the game. Now the coach can challenge the call and the referee can see that the player was not fouled, but he “embellished” and forced a call. The penalty is wiped out and the faceoff moves to center ice. Game on.
There are too many games with one bad call at a crucial moment that almost decides the game. I think replay can work now and not be intrusive on the game.