By: Michael Rudd | Follow me on Twitter @Bosmike808.
Every NHL player wants to leave a lasting impression on the game that will carry on long after their career. Regardless of what happens this upcoming season Taylor Hall has accomplished this goal already. Well, sort of. Last week the NHL announced a single rule change for this upcoming season. Upon review, this rule change will allow a referee to completely remove a major penalty. Under the new rule, a referee can also change the type of infraction if a major penalty is reduced. For example, a major penalty for boarding could be reduced to a minor penalty for charging.
Many of you may wonder what this rule change has to do with Taylor Hall. There is probably a foggy replay of this hit for some of you deep in that memory highlight reel from last season.
As you can see from the video, Hall delivered a hit on Nathan Mackinnon. MacKinnon’s stick bounces off of Taylor and hits him in the face. As a result, MacKinnon’s head snaps back, and it looks like an illegal check to the head. Unfortunately, under the old rule, the penalty could not be entirely removed by the reviewing ref. This meant Hall had to serve a two-minute penalty for a clean hit.
Pros and Cons
The pro is rather apparent; fewer missed calls. The precedent to remove a penalty has actually already been set. A penalty was removed previously in a game between Carolina and Columbus. A miscommunication during a coach’s challenge review led to a failed challenge and a resulting delay of game penalty. During the intermission, the error was caught, and the remaining penalty time was removed. Getting the call right is paramount, especially as sports gambling becomes a bigger and bigger business. Imagine the Stanley Cup Final decided by a power play goal scored after a penalty couldn’t be rescinded because of a rule oversight. Now with this rule change, you don’t have to.
As for the cons, a look back at the institution of the coach’s challenge shows how a good rule can be abused. Will we see an increase in major penalties called because the ref can take a second look? If that is the case, the pace of play could suffer. We already have replay reviews that can take up to five or even ten minutes. A less likely but still very possible outcome is improper game management. We have seen an official lose his job over make-up calls in recent history. What is to stop a ref who reverses a close call for one team from reversing a close but correct call against the other to make it even?
Only time will tell how well this new rule is implemented. The spirit of the rule is in the right place, resulting in fewer missed calls. What do you think of the new rule, and how will refs handle the increased replay access? Let’s hope the league is keeping a close eye on things to make sure the replays don’t get out of hand. Until next time stay safe out there, and let’s go, Bruins!
Still didn’t get it correct. Certainly not interference but a legal. It was a home town call. If anything, MacKinnon should have been called for a high stick causing injury.