Doug Weight has lost his last four coach’s challenges for goalie interference and, after the latest call went against the Islanders, he opined that nobody in the NHL is really sure how the rule is being called.
Understandably, Weight had a positive reaction on Thursday when asked about the NHL general managers’ recommendation that an off-ice official in the league’s Situation Room in Toronto — ideally a former referee — be given the responsibility to rule on goalie interference challenges.
The NHL Players Association quickly approved Wednesday’s recommendation.
“We expected this,” said Weight, who has lost four of five goalie challenges this season. “This isn’t the NHL failing. This is us moving forward, and it’s progressive.”
Weight said he believes it’s simply too hard for an on-ice officiating crew to overturn its own call.
“This is not against the officiating. They make their call,” Weight said. “But when you ask someone to overturn their own call, there’s a human conscious, if that’s the word, of overturning your own call. It’s not ego. It’s not saying they’re not going to want to overturn their own calls and make the right call. But it definitely plays into it. It’s a tough gig for them to look at an iPad and overturn either his own call or his partner’s call.”
In announcing the general managers’ recommendation on Wednesday that came at the conclusion of a three-day meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, the league said it hoped to implement the change to Rule 78.7 (ii) Coach’s Challenge — Goaltender Interference before the regular season concludes on April 8.
Right wing Cal Clutterbuck, in his 10th NHL season, also supported the change.
“I think it eliminates the pride element that officials feel for making the initial call,” Clutterbuck said. “Having an official making a call and having him going and evaluating his own work, I think it’s human nature to try and defend yourself. I think most people go in and see how they can justify their call rather than looking at it objectively. If you can get another set of eyes that are unbiased in that situation, I think you might see some more consistency in the calls.”
Goalie Jaroslav Halak said he hadn’t reviewed the recommendation and could not comment. He was in net for last Friday’s 6-3 loss at Washington when Jakub Vrana made contact with him on Alex Chiasson’s power-play goal, which Weight challenged and lost.