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NHL Needs to Take a Page from IIHF on Goalie Interference

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Goaltender interference is not a simple subject in the NHL. It is a highly complex rule, not because of the language used in the rule, no, but because it is applied by many separate people and each one can interpret the rule differently. That means it is not black and white, but 50 shades of gray, which leaves room on the part of the on and off-ice officials to make what may seem like confusing decisions. That leads to errors and controversy. 

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It is important to get this call correct as close to 100 percent of the time as possible. This isn’t a puck over the glass, a hook, or a trip. Goaltender interference calls and reviews have a much larger impact on the game and its outcome. With fans having legitimate trust issues with NHL officials after the Tim Peel “makeup call” incident – and the incorporation of gambling into the NHL – now more than ever, it is time for the NHL to take some of the grey out of these calls and make more objective and predictable results, especially as the league begins to brand itself with sports betting sites. 

Does Anyone Know What Goalie Interference is? 

There are so many questions surrounding this one rule. For something that has a codified written ruling, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding it. What is it? How is it supposed to be applied? Most of all, is it time for it to change, especially when a coin flip is considered more accurate than the NHL’s Situation Room?  

When the rule was introduced, things were simple. A penalty was assessed if an attacking skater made contact with a goalie in his crease when the goalie was attempting to get in position to attempt a save. It was anything by an attacking player casing a goalie to be stopped, forced to change their path, or even slowed down in the crease that was an automatic call.

As technology improved, the rule evolved. Then layers, or nuance, were added. While the onus on the skater to avoid contact with the goalie remained, there were no mitigating circumstances added, such as the defender causing the attacking player to be unable to avoid contact. Even with the added technology and staff in Toronto able to pour over a play from dozens of angles, it has still been difficult for the league to standardize the judgments on goaltender interference especially when the decisions are made by a different person every game. The rule now has evolved into the current Rule 69, Goaltender…

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