The NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee met in New York and on Thursday, June 4, the co-chairs Mathieu Schneider, National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Special Assistant to the Executive Director and Colin Campbell, National Hockey League (NHL) Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations issued a statement regarding some of the items discussed and the committee’s recommendations. Members of the committee included players Michael Cammalleri (New Jersey Devils), Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues), and Daniel Winnik (Pittsburgh Penguins) representing the NHLPA, with David Backes (St. Louis Blues) unable to attend. The NHL was represented by Ed Snider (owner of the Philadelphia Flyers), David Poile (General Manager of the Nashville Predators), Ken Holland (General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings), Don Maloney (General Manager of the Arizona Coyotes) and Peter Chiarelli (General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers).
Among the topics discussed were expanded video review with coach’s challenge, face-offs, and overtime. The recommendations will be brought before the NHLPA’s Executive Board and the NHL’s Board of Governors for approval. And it will be at that point that the language of the rules, if accepted, would be formalized.
Not surprisingly, the expanded video review that would allow for a coach’s challenge was discussed. There were some instances this past season where such an opportunity would have changed the outcome of some close games. The committee recommended that coaches be allowed to challenge to allow expanded video review for goals that may be the result of goaltender interference and offside play. The process for both video reviews would include the on-ice officials as well as those monitoring things in the Situation Room in Toronto. However, the committee agreed that in order for a coach to make a challenge, he would have to still have his timeout available.
The committee is recommending changing who must put his stick down first for face-offs in the defensive zone. Up to now it has been the visiting team who always must put his stick down first. The committee is suggesting that the player from the defensive zone team would be required to put his stick down first in such face-offs. Any face-offs at center ice would remain as they are now with the visiting team’s player putting his stick down first.
Many were expecting something to happen in how overtime is handled, especially with the trial run of a seven-minute overtime in the AHL where they used both a four-on-four play followed by three-on-three play after the first whistle following three minutes of play. However, during Thursday’s meeting, the committee could not come to a consensus. It was announced that they will continue to discuss this issue and settle on a decision later this month. What was agreed upon was that there would be no changes to the format of the shootout.
It will be interesting to see, if adopted, if the change in face-offs in the defensive zone will alter the statistics of some of the better face-off men such as Boston Bruins center man Patrice Bergeron who lead the regular season with 60.2 percent. Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux (56.6 percent), Minnesota Wild’s Mikko Koivu (55.2 percent), Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews (56.5 percent) and Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tyler Bozak (53.2 percent) rounded out the top five.