Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak was given a major penalty for interference after a high, hard his on Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan.  The call didn’t stick, though. The officials reduced the call to a minor penalty after review.



Referee Peter MacDougall made the initial major penalty call from outside the blueline.  As of the start of this season, officials have the ability to review major penalty calls. MacDougall and fellow zebra Dean Morton took a second look at the play, opting to reduce the penalty to a minor for interference.

Keep in mind that, under the new rule, the officials do not have the option to eliminate the penalty, only the ability to drop it from five minutes to two.

20.6 On-Ice Video Review of Major Penalties – Referees shall review all plays that result in the assessment of any Major Penalty (other than a Major Penalty for Fighting) for the purpose of confirming (or modifying) their original call on the ice. Such reviews will be conducted exclusively by the Referee(s) on the ice in consultation with other On-Ice Official(s), as appropriate, using the technology (for example, a handheld tablet or a television or computer monitor) specified in and provided pursuant to Rule 38.5.

Communication between the Situation Room and the On-Ice Officials shall be limited to contact between the appropriate Game Logger in the Situation Room and the Referee to ensure the Referee is receiving any and all video they might request, as well as the appropriate replay angles they may need to review the penalty call. There shall be no other contact or consultation between the On-Ice Official(s) and the NHL Situation Room, or with any other non-game participant.

The Referee shall only have the following options following video review of his own call: (i) confirming his original Major Penalty call; or (ii) reducing his original Major Penalty call to a lesser penalty for the same infraction.

Note that the final call is left to the on-ice officials.  While the Situation Room helps facilitate the video feed, they do not weigh in on the call itself.  It’s purely up to the referees to decide the severity of the penalty.

In this case, the difference between a major an minor for interference comes down to the referee’s determination of the “degree of violence” of the interference, per Rule 56.4.

Stepan left the game and was evaluated for a concussion.