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Video Review, Goalie Equipment Changes, MacT and More

Last night’s missed hand pass led to Erik Karlsson’s overtime winner. It also led to many questions on what the NHL can do this off-season to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Change will occur this summer, but what and how much?

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Be careful what you ask for. Remember when a linesman missed Matt Duchene being offside by a foot. The NHL overreacted and instilled the most asinine video review to date, offside reviews. They are horrible. They only eliminate goals. They don’t review plays which are whistled down incorrectly and stop a scoring a chance.

The human eye is never going to see a skate blade off the ice by a millimetre in real time.

I hope the NHL doesn’t overreact again and encourage a major overhaul to review.

I’d be okay if they review goals, or plays leading directly to a goal. But I’m not in favour of reviewing an incorrect penalty, which occurred in round one for Vegas. As I wrote the day after, the incorrect call didn’t cost Vegas the game. It opened a door, but the Golden Knights’ inability to stop four goals on one powerplay was a bigger factor. They will review a major and then they start reviewing minors, in super slow motion, and we’ve likely got another review gong-show on our hands

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Last night the missed call was the reason the Blues lost. We will never know if the call was made correctly who would have won, but no doubt the Sharks caught a major break.

Series Director, Kay Whitmore, when asked post-game if it was a hand pass, responded with, “It’s a non-reviewable play.”

I suspect the NHL will change the ruling this summer to make that a reviewable play. I see validity in that, but are we opening Pandora’s box even more? Last night was an obvious missed call, but how many aren’t obvious and no one complains?

We have seen how a millimetre offside or a skate barely off the ice, in super slow motion, can delete a goal. Will we see the same with gloved passes or other scenarios?

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Also the league needs a competition committee that does not include anyone who actively works for an NHL team. They have a conflict of interest. Put in former officials, GMs, coaches and players. Just like the NFL does.

GOALIE IMPROVEMENTS…

The goalie union is always looking at ways to improve and limit goals. Kevin Woodley from In Goal Magazine is a goalie and he was on my show earlier this week and explained the testing CCM is now doing for goaltenders.

“From a shooter’s standpoint, look no further than Elias Pettersson. The Canucks had their internal skills competition and he gets close to 100 MPH and wins the hardest shot competition. I talked to him about that in terms of knowing the exact specs on his stick, where the torque and whip points are, all these things. Shooters are keenly aware of those things and now goalies are learning more about their equipment.

“I am in Montreal at CCM, and we got a look behind the curtain at their research and development department today, both sticks and goalie pads, and it’s kind of like an EA Sports set up where they have all the measuring points on it. But to see the science and the technology that goes behind measuring those things and all the different impact on it, it’s amazing.  

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“It has absolutely lent itself to goaltending. Rebound control is something where in the past you’d see a big rebound and you hear the announcer say ‘a big rebound is a bad rebound’ and that isn’t the case anymore. A big rebound is a good thing for a goaltender. We understand that the further it gets away from us, the more time we have to recover, whether it’s to our skates or laterally to a new position on our knees, before the next shot comes.  

“Goalies understand if guys are standing five feet in front of the net and that rebound comes off our pad hotter, it means it’s going past the first wave of guys looking for a rebound much quicker, giving them less time to react.  We’re talking about half a second difference — they have measured it — and those are the types of things they measure here.  

“Not just me saying it, or goalies believing it, but actually measuring reaction time, coefficient of restitution, how hot a puck comes in and how hot it leaves. Just like a golf club, you hear about coefficient of restitution and core in terms of how much a ball can explode off the face of a golf club. They’re measuring that level of rebound control here in their research and development facilities.

 “Also new materials that slide better. As much as the shots are coming harder than ever before no matter what size you are, the same thing holds true for goaltending. The equipment is moving faster, creating environments which are better for goaltenders, so that battle will continue to rage on, and it is interesting to see it here first hand in testing facilities that are maybe set up originally and more often for sticks and shooter technology, but increasingly also being used so goalies get better too,” ​said Woodley.

While the NHL is looking at ways to have the correct call, I wonder if they would ever consider limiting the advancement of technology.

If pads are “springier” and it makes it easier for a goalie to kick out a rebound, is that good for the game?

Is creating sticks which allow players to shoot harder, even though they aren’t gaining strength, better for the game?

OIL CHANGE…

Photo by: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After seven years in three different roles within the Oilers management, Craig MacTavish is going back behind the bench. He signed a two-year deal to coach Lokomotiv in the KHL. MacTavish was the senior vice president of hockey operation in 2012/2013, then he was promoted to general manager for two seasons, and then back as senior vice president of hockey operation for the past four years.

His best decisions were drafting Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse in 2013 and 2014. He also acquired David Perron for Magnus Paajarvi and a pick on July 10th, 2013. His handling of Devan Dubnyk wasn’t ideal. “If you have to ask the question,” was his response after the 2012/2013 season if Dubnyk was a starting goalie. It shattered Dubnyk’s confidence, and he never regained his form. He was coming off a season with a .920sv%. Yes, he allowed some bad goals, but many nights he was excellent behind a porous defence.

I felt MacT was a better coach than a manager. His teams were always competitive, and since he stepped away as HC of the Oilers, they have only had one winning season. They made the playoffs in three of his eight seasons, and only once did his team have fewer than 85 points. In the ten years since the Oilers have had more than 79 points only ONCE.

MacTavish got the most out of his players between 2001-2009. At least those teams were competitive, and he wasn’t blessed with an abundance of talent. Many players had career bests under MacTavish: Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Jarret Stoll, Raffi Torres, Sam Gagner, David Perron (at the time) and more.

When he had an elite player, Chris Pronger, his team went on a great playoff run in 2006.

It was time for a change for him and the organization, and I’m happy for him he is going back to coaching. The KHL can be ruthless to coaches at times, so I wish him luck.

PARTING SHOTS…

Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov and his Guelph teammates play Saturday at 1:30 p.m, Sunday and Tuesday at 5 p.m., if you are inclined to watch. He has had a stellar playoffs with 28 points in 24 games, while playing huge minutes on the backend. He’s another great example of why the vast majority of players need more time to develop.

He was drafted in the third round in 2017. Contrast that to Prince Albert Raiders forward Brett Leason. He wasn’t drafted in 2017 or 2018. He is now 19 years of age and projected to be a first round pick. It is amazing how people’s perception of players change based on where they were picked. Leason wasn’t ready at 17 or 18, but now in his 19-year-old year he had a breakout campaign with 36 goals and 89 points in 55 games and another 25 points in 22 playoff games.

He had 33 points in 66 games last season and 18 points in 68 games two seasons ago; when he was draft eligible for the first time. He wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Two years later he will likely go in the first round, and be looked at as a legit prospect.

He is an outlier, no doubt, but it illustrates the point that players can change a lot in two seasons, and some players won’t improve much after their draft year, while others make huge gains.

Where a player is drafted shouldn’t matter much two or three years later, but it still does in the eyes of management, media and fans.

Recently by Jason Gregor:



  • OldOilerFan

    I gotta say, that call last night was … borderline, c’mon. I looked at it saying the player knocked the puck down, not necessarily directed it to any one player. I saw two players skate towards to get the puck myself …

  • Randaman

    JG, so for the sake of five more minutes, you would rather have the wrong call made or missed in this case? That’s my friend is a cop out by you and many others in the media. IT MATTERS!! It’s almost like the league decided that Boston and San Jose are to meet in the finals. I know that is not the case but there is evidence to the contrary. Example is Brad Marchand getting away with murder game after game after game. Tell me I’m wrong…

    • Jason Gregor

      If the league wanted SJ to win why did they disallow their go-ahead goal in game two, and then give them a penalty where Vegas scored the game winner on the PP?

      Why would they wait until it was 3-0 midway through the third period to give them a 5-minute major. The league knew Vegas would suddenly forget how to kill a penalty? Sorry I don’t buy it.

      Also, I said I was okay with review on goals. Not on every play. You want perfection from the refs, but not the players. It makes no sense to me. Do you want them to stop the play after a player makes a horribly wrong decision and passes puck up the middle on the tape of attacking forward. I doubt it. Human error is part of sports. Review goals, that is fine, but not every call. It is ridiculous and far from a cop out.

      • Kool-Aid Man

        Lol, how about spreading the goalies legs while laying on said goalie in the goalie crease and the offending team scores. Is that not against the rules? It’s strange that the California teams get considerable amount of breaks from the refs. Especially during playoffs.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    I really don’t see the harm in having reviews on specific portions of the rulebook, coming from Toronto, during play. If it’s wrong, then let the “eye in the sky” back things up and get the play right. No, don’t use these as Challenges, but yes, use the opportunity to get it right, if it leads to a score.

  • Loud_voices

    Read the rules of what a hand pass is and then re-watch the play… According to the rules it was a good goal. Players are permitted to wack a puck with an open glove as long as it’s not directed towards a teammate… Well the puck was directed towards the net, where Nyquist steps from behind the net (moving in the same direction as the puck so it couldn’t have been directed towards him) and then picks it up and passes to Karlsson for the goal. You can fight and say well it was directed to Karlsson but he’s not the player to pick it up which means it’s a good goal.

    • Jason Gregor

      Incorrect. “Even if the puck were to deflect off a glove off a player in the neutral zone and it goes to his teammate it is whistled down for a glove pass. It does not have to be directed towards a teammate.” Kerry Fraser, 30 years as NHL official. I’ll take Kerry’s version of the rules.

      • OldOilerFan

        Okay so that’s how the rule is written then? Fine. Should not the rule be re-written or at least re-considered Jason? If the puck deflects off a glove, that’s an accident. Or the player knocks it down, without directing it to a teammate, how is that a pass? Everyone is calling it a glove pass, where is the PASS in those scenarios?

      • Loud_voices

        Jason Gregor I’m not incorrect…. Rule 67.1 Read the rule. That is a completely different matter all together but for the sake of the argument, the puck is still going off of a players hand and directing towards a teammate, therefore it’s a glove hand pass…. If it makes contact with your hand in any zone but the defensive zone and directs towards your teammate, it is a glove hand pass whether it be deliberate or accidental. But if the puck bounce off your players hand away from your teammates and your team gets possession, according to the rule it should still be in play. Only if the ref deems it was a glove hand pass does play stop. in the offensive zone If the puck was to bounce off your glove and into the corner and your teamates reaches the puck before the opponent the puck is still in play because it was directed at the boards and not to a player. I’ve seen this happen 100 times. Like I said you could make the fight it was directed towards Karlsson therefore it shouldn’t be allowed but Nyquist took possession who came from behind the puck (also looked like it could have it a blues player on the way as well)

        • Loud_voices

          Nevermind. I take back everything I just said lol. Apparently the rule I was reading is an old version or setting because I downloaded a PDF of the updated 2018-2019 rules and it’s changes to 79.1 and is a little more detailed on what a glove hand pass is. I take it back it shouldn’t be a goal

          • Loud_voices

            Yeah rule 67.1 is the same but they changed it to add Basically if the team is deemed to have gained an advantage from the glove then it should be whistled which I think we can all agree they did.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Get rid of refs altogether & let’s get an “e-ref”. Develop an “e-puck” to digitally communicate with a data base of penalties and rules… When disputing a goal, looking at an above camera angle, eliminate layers of players and equipment until you are left with a goal-line and a puck…
    I know this sounds sarcastic & in a way it is… But I’m gearing myself up for a reality of a very digital, Tron-like experience in the near future. When all the organic-ness & humanity will be removed from sports. Analytics is already cleansing the coaching prowess needed to be an effective coach… Soon you can be a Chef & an Analytic genius and win the Stanley Cup… It’s not far off… I’m afraid of that.

  • OILERSORDEATH

    Jose better take that win tuck in thier tails and run. They are getting very fortunate bounces and calls. St Loius will come out next game and destroy em. I’m callin it.

  • kdunbar

    I saw an idea that I really like for “video review”. Have a ref upstairs watching the game who can either call down if they see an infraction that directly leads to a goal or a major penalty. The refs can call off goals if needed, call major penalties, wade in on referee conferences. This would eliminate the offside rule completely and help prevent any loss of flow to the game while maintaining the integrity of the referees.

  • Spoils

    here’s a hot take. you can review anything goal related that is “within a reasonable amount of time – say 2min of the play”… you lose your time-out if you get it wrong… off-side. hand pass. etc.

    • Kevwan

      Why should a coach or a team have to risk a timeout or a penalty to ensure a call is correct? Isn’t it the Leagues responsibility to make sure it officiated properly?

      Have Toronto review any penalty or goal or any play that caused a penalty or goal. They are natural stoppages in play and shouldn’t disrupt the flow of the game. I do like your “within a reasonable amount of time” idea especially on offsides.

      As a former Ref I would like to note how easy it is to miss something like that hand pass. You’re at the same level as the players and it’s easy for your line of sight to be blocked. It’s way easier to see a play from the stands or an elevated TV angle. With the tech and coms we have now it’s silly not to have off ice input on officiating.

  • bazmagoo

    I like Darnell, but I’m not sure how anyone can say that was a good pick when Ristolainen was passed on.

    We had Klefbom, and had we picked Ristolainen the Larsson for Hall trade may not have been necessary.

    I’m sure this post will get negative reviews, but the truth is just the truth. That pick has proven to be a mistake to date.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Rishaug was on Buffalo radio and said the hosts asked about a Nuge for Ristolainen trade. Rishaug asked if Ristolainen had the chops to be a 55-60 PP specialist. They admitted that no, he doesn’t.

      Nurse has gotten better each season he’s played and brings a much needed physical element to the backend. What would have made the Hall for Larsson trade unnecessary was if MacT hadn’t messed up the contracts of Petry and Schultz so bad. One he overpaid – left little room for re-signing when his play didn’t even warrant his current deal. And the other he underpaid with months left till UFA status. Change those two and MAYBE then the Oilers have the chops of a competent defence that a Larsson for Hall trade would be unnecessary.

      We done with this yet?

      • GK1980

        Hall? Oh you mean tylor hall? The guy that only plays 20% of the season because he is always hurt. Not a fan of the trade but it’s not as bad as folks think.

        • Expat Oilers Fan

          The trade is as bad as just about everyone thinks. Larsson is an okay top-4 defenseman. Hall is an upper tier first-line winger that is just about always in the conversation for all-star teams and Team Canada. Kind of line trading Draisaitl for a defence-first equivalent of Douggie Hamilton. Both are definitely good players, but one is special. Trade was beyond stupid and one that Oiler’s Management will wear for quite some time.

  • Just a Fan

    I am good with all the reviews but we need to change the lens they are viewed through. If there is a challenge for any kind ( off side, hand pass, penalty) the referee would review the play with 2 questions: Did the infraction affect the play and was the call close enough that, in real time, no way I could have called it. Yes this brings judgement back into the game but that is what I want. Human beings doing human things.

  • ed from edmonton

    In NFL/CFL and major NCAA football all scoring plays are reviewed. In major rugby competitions tries can be reviewed at either the request of the referee on the field or the official in the stands. Even the archaic game of soccer who until recently thought the referee’s wrist watch was the latest in time keeping technology has goal reviews, Astounding the NHL doesn’t. Dump the offside challenge and implement auto goal reviews.

  • Beer

    We often comment on this site about how badly the Oilers are run, but the NHL as a whole doesn’t qualify as a pro sports league anymore. The Oilers have started to clean house(I think, I hope) from the top to the bottom. The league needs to do same. Not later, but Right Now!

  • Oiler Al

    Funny how great our Ref’s were before video reviews came into play.I think The Blues blow this series in game 3.!
    The series was theirs had they won the game.Now it looks like the Duck Dynasty guys are in command.[ remeber when players were clean cut , with cerwcuts,]

  • madjam

    NHL not about to make rule changes everytime refs are wrong or miss an infraction , nor should they . Bad calls are part of every game and we have probably to much video review already .

  • OILERSORDEATH

    Jesus Christ I just had the best laugh in a while. The hockey article form some Nashville starts his article ” with much speculation Connor Mcdavid wanting out of Edmonton ” lolololololol!!! What the hell are they drinking there?? And it goes on talking about what THEY have to get a deal done lololol!! God I’m still crying from laughing! They have nothing that would be even the least bit enticing to even start a conversation about it!

    • QuitForRealThisTime

      Forsberg, Arvidsson, Josi, Eklhom, Saros, Tolvanen, 10 years of 1st round draft picks. For McDavid, Lucic, Manning and Brodziak, Sekera, Russel??

    • KootenayDan

      I read that article too pretty ridiculous. If Holland traded Connor the Oilers would lose half their fan base beside he has made it abundantly clear he does not want out of Edmonton. I like Craig MacTavish he will be back in two years helping another organization he takes way too much heat for the team troubles he deserves some blame but not all. Enough about the OBC time to move on from that.

  • Synthesis

    Reffing is only going to get worse. Look at the AHL or the CHL with the understanding that these are the feeder leagues and tell me you are confident where the game is going in regards to officiating. Given the abuse that young kids take when officiating minor hockey, its only logical. I don’t blame kids for bailing on the process, its a joke. What is tolerated by the game in regards to behaviour directed at young officials is appalling. They aren’t respected at an introductory level and by extension you end up with a culture of promoting survivors not advancement based on merit.
    Its the peter principle writ large. Sadly.

  • Derzie

    I’ve always felt that the way to fix the reffing problems does not lie solely in video review.

    I see the 2 key problems:
    1. Refs have no accountability to teams, players or fans
    2. Different rule books (Regular Season vs Playoffs)

    The league should keep stats on the refs and have them available, like player stats are.
    Calls made. Calls missed. Etc. The stats can be analyzed to identify the good refs (and the bad ones). Actions can be taken by the league to address the gap. They can use this info when they do ref assignments for games. Bias can be identified and addressed. What do they have to hide? Hiding is the first sign that something is not right.

    As for the differing rule books, the ‘let them play’ narrative has run amok.

    What it SHOULD mean is more checks will be thrown and after play rough stuff will be frequent.

    What it MEANS NOW is 2 handed slash across the gloves? Just fine. Crosscheck a guy into next week because he is within 10 feet of the goalie? Okey Dokey. Tackle a guy who you can’t catch? Why, certainly.
    You have to call that stuff. Regular season and playoffs. Rule books and reffing should reward skill, tenacity and hard work. Not cheating.

    If the NHL does these 2 changes, things will be on the road to recovery. It’s not a quick fix but it’s one that would stick. Instead they’ll add another video review and we’ll be talking about the same problems next year.