Recently, the Columbus Blue Jackets scored a goal after the puck deflected into the netting. Over a minute of play elapsed and the goal was allowed to stand, much to the chagrin of Bruins’ play-by-play man Jack Edwards (story here).
The Dallas Stars had a similar situation last month, where the Situation Room felt that too much time had passed, so they deferred to the on-ice crew.
With concerns – notably those of Edwards above – the league thought it best to take a moment to revisit the specifics of the rule that covers what’s eligible for video review. The NHL has issued this reminder to teams across the league:
Interpretation Rule 38.4 – Situations Subject to Video Review
At the March, 2014 meeting, the General Managers asked Hockey Operations to provide assistance to the on-ice officials when video evidence conclusively shows that the puck strikes the netting, unobserved by any of the officials, and immediately thereafter enters the net. The GM’s determined that the definition of ‘immediately’ for this purpose was best exemplified by the Los Angeles-Detroit game from last season when the puck deflected directly off the netting, hit the Los Angeles goaltender in the back, and crossed the goal line.
The wording for Rule 38.4 specifically sets forth how Hockey Operations will continue to interpret this rule:
NOTE: For pucks that hit the spectator netting undetected by the On-Ice Officials, ‘immediately’ shall mean the following:
(a) when the puck strikes the spectator netting and deflects directly into the goal off of any player;
(b) when the puck strikes the spectator netting and falls to the ice and is then directed into the goal by the player who retrieves the puck.
In both of the above scenarios, the Situation Room in Toronto must have definitive video evidence of the puck striking the netting in order to disallow the goal.’
Our interpretation of ‘immediately’ under (b) currently means that the puck must be directed into the goal instantaneously by a Player without him making a play and/or passing the puck.
We intend to review this rule again at our upcoming March meetings.
Officially, we now have it in print: the NHL’s definition of immediacy as it relates to this call. This is consistent with how it’s been presented to me and how this situation has been called so far this season. A puck in the netting is only eligible for review if it directly and immediately causes a goal to be scored.
Good for the NHL for being consistent, even if it hasn’t appeared that way to everyone. They’ve called it by this standard, and now they’ve shared that standard publicly. Hopefully, we’ll all be better prepared for the inevitable next the the refs miss the puck going out of play.
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