The Columbus Blue Jackets have been doing their homework this offseason. Now they’ve brought a tutor on board.
The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reports that the team has done a review of goaltender interference calls over the past two years in an attempt to better understand the standards and what types of plays may be overturned.
“We’re pretty deep on our research,” Blue Jackets’ head coach Pascal Vincent told Portzline. “We’re trying to get a deeper understanding so that we can make the right call. Sometimes it’s a gut feeling. But you have 20 seconds to make a decision, and then you have to make it, one way or the other. Your bench can be emotional — call it! call it! — but you have to make the call.”
Vincent went one step further in his research – and what goes into the call: he reached out to referee Frederick L’Ecuyer for assistance.
Vincent, who has known L’Ecuyer for many years, wanted his input. “We had a good chat about it,” Vincent said. “L’Ecuyer said there is some gray area like it’s not an exact science. We could see the same play and argue about it for 20 minutes.”
Both Vincent and L’Ecuyer had to laugh a bit later when the Blue Jackets opted to challenge Isaac Ratcliffe’s goal which was scored a half-second after Blue Jackets’ goaltender Aaron Dell was bowled over by a collision in his net. The Jackets thought Dell was bumped — and interfered with — before the collision, but L’Ecuyer allowed the goal to stand.
“I said to Frederick, I want to see what you’re going to do about this one,” Vincent said. “He had a big grin on his face, too. His reaction was pretty funny. He came and said (the Blues player) got pushed into the goalie. So that’s the gray area.”
Columbus has gone 4-for-12 (33%) on coach’s challenges for goaltender interference over the past five seasons. Overall, they’re 16-for-29 on all challenges, including interference, offside, and missed stoppages, during that span.
We’ll see if the Blue Jackets’ summer classes paid off when the regular season gets under way.