Gary Bettman says the NHL’s new coach’s challenge system has been “pretty close” to perfect, and is working “extraordinarily well.”
The Blackhawks beg to differ.
Joel Quenneville said the NHL acknowledged that the officials got it wrong Tuesday night when they overturned a goal by Brandon Mashinter — a decision that sent Quenneville into a rage and proved costly in a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Quenneville said the team spoke with the league to get some clarity on what constitutes goaltender interference after having a goal disallowed twice in one week.
“Did they agree with the call? No,” Quenneville said.
Mashinter appeared to score a goal off his shin pad in the first period on Tuesday, but upon review, referees Steve Kozari and Tom Kowal determined Dennis Rasmussen had interfered with Sharks goalie Martin Jones. Rasmussen appeared to have been pushed into Jones at first by a Sharks defender. Jones said “my glove got caught in his legs.” The Hawks obviously disagreed, with Marian Hossa lamenting — for the second time in three games — that the league was overturning good goals when it claims to want more offense in the game.
The Hawks dressing room was abuzz following Thursday’s morning skate with talk about the coaches’ challenge process — which is in its first year — and the consensus was the review should be centralized in New York or Toronto. As it stands now, the referees at each game conduct the reviews themselves on iPads between the penalty boxes.
But Bettman said the system is working exactly as he had hoped, saying it’s supposed to be a judgment call. He pointed out that the NHL was doing centralized replay reviews for more clear-cut calls long before other leagues began to copy the “war room” system.
“The NFL doesn’t use replay for pass interference,” Bettman said. “It’s a pure judgment call. And our belief, at least for the first season, is it’s best left with the officials who are making the call and officiating the entire game, so that the standard’s consistent throughout the game.”
Quenneville was so irate after Tuesday night’s game — which was 1-0 until a Joe Thornton empty-net goal in the final two minutes — that he stormed out of his postgame press conference after just one question.
“I just think we had a couple of occurrences in a short amount of time, so obviously there was a little frustration there,” Quenneville said. “We did speak to the league and we got some [clarity] on the play. I just think there’s an education across the board and you’ve got a lot of people in the middle of the process making those decisions. As long as we get it right. [That’s] what we’re looking for.”
In other news, Artemi Panarin will miss his second straight game with an illness. Quenneville said it was “comparable” to the upper-respiratory issues that Jonathan Toews was dealing with for nearly two weeks leading into the All-Star break.
“Hopefully it’s not long term,” Quenneville said. “But he’s definitely out tonight.”