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Overhauling Video Review

Posted 9:53 PM ET | Comments 6
The following originally appeared at The Checking Line in January of 2007. Because of a great conversation in the Chat room with Ek, Scoop and others tonight, I've decided to re-post it here.

So I'm sitting here watching the Vancouver/Buffalo game. An apparent goal scored by Drew Stafford was waved off (and properly, in my opinion) after a lengthy video review that no doubt involved the much-ballyhooed "War Room" looking at the MSG feed on TiVo's. The replays were deemed inconclusive, so referee Gord Dwyer's call of "no goal" (something they seem to like in Buffalo... don't remember why, though) stood. But why are so many replays inconclusive? Because the video replay relies on the television network's decision on where to place cameras, which is haphazard at best.

Here's how to do it right:

* Get rid of the goal judges. The only purpose they serve is to turn on the red light. Someone at a control panel should be able to do that. They're never consulted. But they have really nice NHL blazers and get paid at least $100 a game. Each team can save $8200 a season this way.

* Keep the existing overhead cameras, but align them directly above the goal line and crossbar. Often a puck which is in mid-air appears to be between the goal line and crossbar -- which we know isn't possible.

* Add a wide-angle camera at the center of the base of the net that can offer an entire post-to-post, ice-to-crossbar view of the goal frame.

* Mandate that all dasherboards be exactly 4' high -- the same height as the crossbar. This will assist cameras as well as on-ice referees determine the height of a puck when it is touched by a stick. If for some reason this isn't possible in any rink, a horizontal red line should be placed on the glass at crossbar height to serve the same purpose.

* Add a camera at dasherboard height in each corner, with a wide-angle view of the attacking zone. This along with the 4' boards will give a clear view of high-stick calls.

* Mandate that all goaltenders wear white or light-colored equipment, regardless of the team's jersey. In most instances, if you see a blue jersey shooting at a goaltender, you can safely assume that he's not on the team with the blue jerseys. Most instances...

* All cameras and video equipment should be high-definition. Some of those overhead cameras have all the definition of an ATM Security camera.

* The "War Room" should be video linked to the system in each rink. You wouldn't need satellites to accomplish this -- just a decent internet connection. Don't depend on local TV. Ask fans in Phoenix and Chicago about this one.

* Finally, begin researching a system that will automatically determine when a puck has entered the goal. They have a box that can tell when you drive through a toll booth on the Florida Turnpike -- it can't be THAT different..

* I've added this one on 5/11 during Pens/Flyers Game 2. The NHL should add a line 3" inside the goal. A puck that reaches this line is then guaranteed to be completely inside the goal. That may have changed the call tonight.

Sure it may cost money. But imagine how much money it could cost an organization when it keeps someone out of the playoffs. Or worse...

The circumstance of this coming up was the extended amount of whistle-less play after the near-goal by the Habs in the 3rd period of tonight's game. I believe Eklund is planning on blogging about this, so when he does, I'll refer to it.
Filed Under:   Video Review   Hockey  
April 26, 2008 10:51 PM ET | Delete
I love your suggestions. That was a really awkward period of time during the game tonight. As the minutes went by, I kept wondering, was that a goal? Can't happen and they need a better system.
April 27, 2008 9:10 AM ET | Delete
I wonder how hard it would be to implant a chip into the puck. Then have a box in the goal that told you when the puck crossed the line. Heck you could make it a wire system and put in the posts and the goal line. You would also need to make sure that the puck had the same characteristics. I am sure that it could be done. Hell if a dog can get shocked when he leaves the yard cant we make a light that goes off when the puck crosses the goal line?
April 27, 2008 2:09 PM ET | Delete
Consistency from rink to rink is a joke, both in cameras and lighting. How hard would it be to put cameras inside the posts, top and bottom, 4 per net:2 at ice level on the redline and 2 in the top corners looking down? For that matter, they could also have some facing out for the high-stick rulings. All of them just slightly recessed in the posts so they don't get damaged. Seems pretty simple to me.
April 28, 2008 1:46 PM ET | Delete
for the sensor or chip in the puck, one problem...How to determine if the entire puck crosses the goal line?
April 29, 2008 5:34 AM ET | Delete
You make it so the line under the ice is back the amount of the radius of the puck from the goal line. that way if the chip is in the center the whole puck would have to cross in order for it to go off. Thats just one way of doing it...
April 29, 2008 6:03 PM ET | Delete
Lets say the puck is on edge, or vertical as it crosses the goal line. It will not reach the line and a goal will be waved off. Logistically, it is not possible to insert a chip. Perhaps a 3 dimensional sensor that tells when the volume of air within the net is displaced an equivalent value to the volume of the puck...., something that does not involve chipping the puck, just cameras that sense when the entire puck is past the line.
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