Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

A vote to allow protest of calls

Guy Boucher isn't sure if he would get some sort of buzzer connected to the referees, wave a flag or throw a red hanky onto the ice, as do NFL coaches. But the Lightning coach said he believes NHL coaches should be able to challenge one officiating call per game.

"The refs are human. They can't see everything," Boucher said. "The game is so fast, and there's so much on the line. I would be 100 percent for that."

The concept got an airing recently after two disputed calls:

• The Rangers lost 1-0 to the Devils after Artem Anisimov's apparent tying goal with 3.5 seconds left in the third period was waved off by a questionable goaltender interference call.

• The Kings beat the Blue Jackets 3-2 on Drew Doughty's goal with .4 seconds left in the third period after the game clock in Los Angeles froze with 1.8 seconds remaining and started again.

In the NHL, the only thing reviewed is whether pucks did or did not cross the goal line. If coaches had one shot to challenge a call, injustices could be avoided, Boucher said.

"There are millions (of dollars) that are on the line here," Boucher said. "It's not just one game. One game can mean the playoffs. Playoffs can mean millions of dollars. There's a lot that hangs in the balance, so I would be 100 percent behind that one call you can check during the game."

Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman says league GMs have discussed the idea in the past with "not much support."

Still, Boucher persisted.

"It's one challenge," he said. "What's the difference between one call like that and the one time where we check if it's a goal or not?"

As Coyotes and former Lightning goaltender Mike Smith told the Arizona Republic: "Football does it, so I don't see why not here. Throw the flag out onto the ice."

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