NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that the league will consider expanding video review when general managers and the competition committee meet in June.
Giving his annual state of the league press conference before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues, Bettman stressed that improvements need to be made after several controversial plays and missed calls this season.
“Clearly what we already do still may not be enough,” Bettman said. “If we are to extend video replay, and we will be looking at that possibility, we must find the right balance when it comes to how much more to use and when to use it without affecting the flow, pace and excitement of our game.
“Perhaps most important, we’ve got to have a system that enables us to be consistent. This is the challenge, and it’s a challenge we are focused on and we will meet.”
Bettman admitted that expanding video review could be a complicated matter because the NHL is worried about slowing down the game, and he has problems envisioning what form the reviews will take.
“We want to get it right, but what is the ‘it?’ How far do you go back? What actually affects the actual result?” he said.
An example he cited was a missed hand pass in Game 3 of the Western Conference between the Sharks and Blues, ultimately resulting in San Jose’s 5-4 overtime victory.
“What I thought (at the time) was that it would be good if I kept my head from exploding,” Bettman said. “I was unhappy. We all were.
“What if the hand pass happened a minute earlier? Or it cleared the zone? You can roll it back endlessly. If we decide to extend replay, we have to define it in a way where we don’t ruin the game and get it right.”
While it’s been a hot topic in previous general managers meetings, Bettman doesn’t see the league going the other way by reducing the video review system.
“Whatever your view is of video replay, what we’re doing is working well, and I don’t think you can go backwards anymore. I think that ship has sailed,” he said.
The NHL competition committee, which includes league officials, executives and current players, is scheduled to meet in Toronto on June 11.
–Field Level Media