No easy answer for interference problem

Dwight King was credited with a goal on this play, but not without considerable controversy. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

NEW YORK -- By the estimation of NHL competition committee member Ron Hainsey, the meeting ran a good five hours. Maybe a little longer than that.

The committee met on Monday to consider some rule changes, and a few made it through to the next step. If these recommendations get approval, there will be some differences on the ice for 2014-15: The trapezoid will be larger; there will be more space between competing wingers during faceoffs; in overtime, teams will change ends after regulation to help generate offense. These are all reasonable steps to improve the game.

Those rule changes, however, didn’t take up a majority of the five-hour meeting. The debate over expanded replay -- including the possibility of allowing goalie interference to be a part of replay review -- did.

“We spent quite a while on the coach's challenge and video replay and all that. That was by far our longest topic. No question,” Hainsey said during a Monday phone conversation. “At the end of that, and we had a great group in there, we hadn’t come to anywhere near a conclusion. We just hadn’t.”

That's funny, because everyone outside of hockey’s decision-makers apparently have come to a conclusion. There’s a resounding call from fans and a large contingent of hockey media to expand instant replay and include goalie interference as part of an expanded replay package, especially considering some of the high-profile goalie-interference calls of this postseason.

The Stanley Cup finals turned when Los Angeles Kings forward Dwight King scored a goal on which he interfered with Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 without a call or the goal being disallowed.

The debate sounds something like this:

The league: Without the benefit of the technology that viewers of the game have, officials still get an astonishing number of the calls correct in real time. They have the hardest job in the game and do it really well.

Everyone else: That’s great. But the technology is there, so why not arm officials with that technology to get as many calls correct as possible?

The league: It’s complicated.

Hainsey understands the frustration from fans. He gets the desire for an expanded replay package. He was once in that group.

“The first time I thought about it, I was like ‘Yeah, a challenge. Like the NFL. Do it,’” Hainsey said. “What could go wrong?”

He’s since learned that there’s a lot that could go wrong.

“It’s much more complicated than I ever would have given it credit for,” he said.

That was one of the revelations of Monday’s competition committee.