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Gary Bettman to NHL refs: Don't over-think goalie interference rule

Jonathan Bombulie
| Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, 6:27 p.m.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media earlier this year. (Getty Images)
Getty Images
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media earlier this year. (Getty Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has a message for the league's officials about video review of goaltender interference calls.

Don't over-think it.

“Overall, the system works, but I think we've gotten to the point where everybody is over-thinking the review,” Bettman said at his annual state of the league address Saturday. “The intention, particularly on goaltender interference is, ‘Did you miss something? Was there a glaring (error)?' not, ‘Can you search for something that might overturn the call?' ”

The rule states goaltender interference happens when “an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper's ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.”

Players and coaches have complained in recent weeks that the rule is not always applied consistently.

Bettman said the league invited officials, coaches, general managers and members of the hockey operations department to a meeting during All-Star festivities in Tampa to discuss the matter. He said a memo will be sent to all officials.

“Take a good look, a quick look, but don't search it to the death,” Bettman said. “The presumption should be the call on the ice was good unless you have a good reason to overturn it. You shouldn't have to search for a good reason.”

Other topics Bettman touched on during his address:

• Bettman said owners believe the Olympics are a significant disruption to the NHL regular season and that working out an agreement for players to appear in the 2022 games is not an issue he's focused on.

• A timetable for a potential expansion team in Seattle will be determined by the ownership group's progress through the process. If there is an expansion team, Bettman said he expects draft rules to be the same as they were for Vegas.

• Bettman is not in favor of increasing the number of teams in the playoffs even if the league expands to 32 teams. He said he didn't think realignment would be complicated.

• Bettman said the Nassau Coliseum would be an acceptable temporary home as the New York Islanders work on construction of a new arena, but he emphasized such a move would require improvements and could only be temporary.

• The league expects to unveil an esports league by the end of the regular season, Bettman said.

• Bettman said expansion or relocation to Quebec City is not a front-burner issue.

• Bettman said he hopes and expects Arizona's ownership will be able to get a new arena built, and the franchise is not a threat to relocate.

• Next year's All-Star Game will be held in San Jose.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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