This week I will hit on a few short topics and skip the Flyers game recaps – since they played out West and I was sleeping! I watched the games on TiVo and not the same opinions are arrived in knowing the outcomes.
Use of Video Replay: This week I would like to examine the possibility of the NHL using video replay in an expanded role. If you listen to the explanation as to why they use video replay on goals the standard response is “to make sure they get the call right”. This is a great use of technology to get the call right, however the technology can also be used in an expanded role to “get more of the game calls right” and here is my suggestion to apply the use of replay to the game, without ruining the game. In recent games I have seen a number of “phantom calls” that have affected the game more with a call or non-call than the goals.
An example is the high sticking call against Gagne in the game against Pittsburgh. On the isolation camera Gagne and Malkin are skating together and pushing a bit after a collision, but nothing more. The call resulted in 2 each for roughing and 2 for high sticking against Gagne. The replays showed 2 guys pushing and no high sticking – guys push in the NHL all night long – after most checks – no call needed to be made here – and oh by the way the call was made AFTER Richards scored to make the game 2-0. So they wipe the goal off with the “phantom high stick” and give a powerplay to Pittsburgh and they score to make the game 1-1. Now that call changed the game drastically! A big difference from a 2-0 game to a 1-1 game!
Another example occurred in the Flyers – Islanders game with the goalie interference call against Hartnell. On the replay it was clear that Hartnell bumped Roloson before the puck got to the goalie – thus not allowing him to make a play within the crease on the shot. Initially the referee at the goal line said the puck was by him before the puck entered the net. The referee was adamant that he saw it correctly; however the slow motion clearly showed that Hartnell was a split second early and prevented the play on the puck by the goalie.
I am suggesting the ability for a coach to “challenge” a call against his team. Each team gets 1 challenge per game where any call can be challenged – this includes a high stick, trip, and interference – anything. The challenge must be issued before the next faceoff occurs. If the challenge is upheld the call is made by the referee and the clock is reset to the correct time. Remember the league wants to “make sure the call is right” – if the team has already used its challenge a challenge can still be made, but if the on-ice call is still deemed to be correct the team is charged 2 minutes for delay of game – just like in the case of a stick measurement. This option will give the referees a higher percentage chance to get the call right – and stop the complaining around the league by coaches and players. The camera does not lie!
I am curious to hear what other hockey fans think of this idea.
Powerplay and Penalty Killing Stats: The statistics in NHL games need to be adjusted. After the conclusion of a game the recap includes the powerplay and penalty killing stats; however these stats can be misleading. Recently in a game versus Pittsburgh the Flyers were 1-9 on the powerplay according to the game statistics, however they only received 5 full powerplays, the others were fractions of a powerplay where penalties overlapped. Sometimes these “powerplay” opportunities were as short as 10 seconds or less. This gives the illusion that the Penguins killed 8 penalties to hold the Flyers down. What should be shown is the number of minutes that each team was shorthanded in total time. As for powerplay percentage the same thing goes. The Flyers were 1 for 9 in this game for a percentage of 11%, however if you recap the game you will see that the Flyers were actually 1 for 5 in the time that they had full powerplays. I suggest the stats show how many times the team had a powerplay and committed a foul to cancel the call and how many times the penalty was killed in total. Just some ideas to watch highlights of a game or read a box score. This will tell you what teams squander their powerplays the most by committing a penalty of their own – or maybe even show you how long a team needs on a powerplay to score – like the Flyers score a powerplay goal every 6 minutes and 20 seconds of powerplay time.
I am curious to hear comments on this idea.
Playoff team indicator: I know there is a lot of hockey left but I am seeing a trend that I want to point out. If you look at the standings in both the East and West you will see an alarming trend. In the East you see that Washington, NJ, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Philly are all on the plus side in overall goals scored over goals allowed. That makes 6 teams. I predict that these 6 teams are all in the playoffs. The other 2 spots are up for grabs. Out West San Jose, Chicago, Vancouver, LA, Phoenix, Colorado, and Calgary are on the plus side. Nashville is even. Detroit is a minus team this year and unless they fix this stat, the other 8 teams will take the playoff spots.
Ray Emery and Goaltending: First let me say that since Ray Emery has come back he is getting unnecessarily bashed by the Internet media and fans. Over the last 7 starts he is 5-2 with a GAA under 2.0 and a save percentage over .930. The 2 games he lost were a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh and a 4-3 game against Atlanta where the team went dead in front of him. The time is now for everyone to just “shush” and watch one of the top goalies in the league play the game. You read it here first, the Flyers will not trade for a goalie and Emery is the number 1 goalie in Philly!
Flyers vs. Montreal – Home and Home ALERT! I am looking forward to the upcoming week as I will be attending the Flyers game in Montreal with my best friend. This is our annual trek to see the Flyers play a road game somewhere in the league. Our first trip to Montreal, and if it is as good as the other places in Canada – should be a memorable trip. I have seen games in Toronto and Ottawa and loved both experiences.
Good night and good hockey!