"I challenge your ability to do this job" -Torts

It’s no secret that John Tortorella is a very opinionated guy. I highly recommend that you all just hop on YouTube – if you haven’t already at the thought – and search John Tortorella. The results are absolutely magical and well worth however long it takes you to watch every single clip of him.

It’s also no secret that Torts was bloody hot when the Rangers had a goal disallowed against the Devils on Tuesday, which led to the Rangers 1-0 loss at home. Obviously there was much more to it than that, but a scapegoat is mighty convenient and this goal was no different. Pay no attention to the prior 59:57 of gameplay for the duration of this story.

The implications of the disallowed goal have been very interesting from a greater league perspective as the issue of an NFL style challenge system has been reintroduced into the NHL debate. Tortorella was clear as crystal talking to Katie Strang of ESPN.

“I’m not questioning the call, but it brings up a discussion and I think the NFL gets it right,” Tortorella said before the Rangers hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning at MSG. “In the last two minutes, it’s a booth replay to get the call right. I haven’t thought it all through. But maybe the last minute of an NHL hockey game, get that call right. Maybe you do have to go upstairs and make sure it’s the right call.”

“We spend a lot of B.S. with the shootout and all these little gimmicks we have in our game, I think it’s more important to make sure we get the calls right in those situations,” he said.

The fiery coach admitted he hasn’t spent significant time thinking about a new policy, but believes clarity is needed.

“Have I thought the ramifications through? No. I’m just speaking as far as what we experienced the other night. Maybe it does take a few extra seconds but in the last minute of a game you need to try to get that call right,” he said. “I’m not saying [Tuesday's goaltender interference call] was wrong, [I was] just saying you’ve got to get it right.”

Here’s the goal in question.

Obviously any way to better incorporate technology into the game is a good thing and any way we can make the game better from an officiating perspective is a good thing. With that in mind, the strict adoption of an NFL system just can’t work. Hockey is a game with much different flow to the sport and that needs to be taken into account when considering review options.

For example, how do we account for Shea Weber Olympic-type plays on pucks that just go through the mesh? A guy one timing a puck that fast with the official at a potentially bad angle can’t always be seen. If the play continues and a coach decides to challenge the earlier shot after another two minutes of game play has passed how do we account for that? It’s not the NFL where play stops every six seconds. Issues like these need to be taken into account before the league definitively hashes out a replay plan.

What are your ideas folks? How do we better incorporate instant replay into hockey? Could a coaches challenge work? Comment, tweet, facebook.

Comments (2)

  1. this is a no brainer, and something many people have been advocating for years. Allow teams 3 “challenges” per game – 1 per period. The league hires a third referee, independent of the teams, sitting in the penalty box, who reviews the challenges. If you (the team) get a challenge wrong, (and the call was correct) you get a 2-min penalty. If you get it right, the call is reversed, and you keep your challenge. The NHL then should publish, Shanahan-style, explanations for the public and teams to learn.

  2. From my understanding…
    In the case of a goal being missed (through the net, just over the line, etc), they already have a policy for that. At the next stoppage of play, the goal in question is reviewed. If it is called a goal, the time clock gets reset to whatever time the goal happened, and faceoff is at center ice.

    I like the idea of 1 challenge per game. You’ll have to limit it to certain things (like goals, called icings, etc). Wording would have to be considered though, because in the Anisimov/Gaborik no-goal, technically the play was waved off before the puck even went across the line. Everyone kept playing fully until the whistle blew and/or the puck crossed the line though. You could adapt a rule kind of like a fumble recovery in football (everyone is still playing and there is clear evidence of a recovery).

    You lose the challenge, and you lose your timeout. You have to have your timeout to challenge.

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