NEW YORK — The freshest controversial call in the Stanley Cup Final was discussed Monday at an NHL Competition Committee meeting.
Officials assessed the possible responses to Saturday’s Game 2 third-period goal by Los Angeles Kings forward Dwight King. New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist begged, to no avail, for a goalie interference call that is not — for now — subject to video review. King had been battling for position in front of the net with Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
The Kings followed the goal with another to force overtime, then finally beat the Rangers, 5-4, in double overtime.
One of the concerns with changing the scrutiny of goalie-interference plays is that the NHL wants video replays to provide certainty, said former Kings defenseman Mathieu Schneider, the NHL Players’ Association special assistant to the executive director.
“It could be as clear as mud,” said Colin Campbell, NHL director of hockey operation.
The competition committee, a mix of players and general managers, reviews rules and suggests changes when necessary.
In Saturday’s play, King tangled with McDonagh, then fell forward on top of Lundqvist’s right leg as a shot by Kings defenseman Matt Greene whizzed through, brushing King on the way to the net. Lundqvist said afterward he wished video review was an option.
Schneider said one solution — with league general managers meeting Wednesday — could be an agreement to provide on-ice officials more latitude to wave off goals when players collide with goalies. But that has issues too.
The league is “trying to increase scoring,” Schneider said.
While Lundqvist argued afterward with a referee’s explanation that the puck had passed him and King before contact, Campbell said some plays are best left to instant judgment.
“Goaltender interference, I’m telling you right now, if we go there, it’s going to be a very difficult review,” Campbell said, noting the varying judgments involved in the King-Lundqvist play alone.
“The defenseman pushed him in. No he didn’t. The puck was past him. No it wasn’t. The goalie’s embellishing ... he plays the crease. ... If it was easy, we would’ve done it a long time ago.
“It’s the bigger picture of reviews: Where do we go? How far do we go? How much do we slow (the game) down?”
Campbell said another play involving the Kings this season is likely to prompt an adjustment.
On Jan. 18, a shot by Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings tied the score in the final minute of regulation when it bounced off the out-of-play mesh behind the goal, and then caromed off the back of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and into the net.
The goal shouldn’t have counted, and was followed by Detroit winning in a shootout.
“No one on the ice saw it ... that’s something we talked about today,” Campbell said of expanding a play like that to video review. “We follow rules strictly ... but it’s just as our managers say, ‘Get it right.’ That’s what we’re trying to do under the topic of goalie interference — without causing more problems. It’s a difficult thing to get right.”