TAMPA — Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he is "150 percent" behind the idea of allowing coaches to challenge calls on the ice much the way coaches challenge calls in the NFL.
"There's so much on the line," Boucher said Tuesday. "There's millions of dollars on the line, really, in all of those decisions."
"The game is so fast. Players make mistakes, coaches make mistakes, referees make them, too. There's so much on the line. That's the way I see it."
Such a system originally was proposed in November 2010 by Panthers GM Dale Tallon. It did not get much support. But it is believed the idea at least will get an airing at the March 21 GM meeting in Toronto.
The spark was a goal scored by Colorado's Matt Duchene against Nashville after he clearly was offside in what turned out to be a 6-5 Avalanche win last week. Much would have to be worked out, such as what can be challenged. Some have proposed goals, erroneous offside calls that lead to goals and high-sticking calls.
How many challenges should a coach get, and what happens if a challenge is wrong? Boucher said he liked the criteria of two challenges put forth by NBC analyst Pierre McGuire: If the first challenge is wrong, you lose a timeout. If the second is wrong, you get a two-minute penalty.
Finally, can already long games afford the time it will take to consider the challenge?
"(The coach's challenge) is a legitimate subject, but it's a tough one," NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy told nhl.com. "I have no problem if they decided to do it, but I think it would be something that we would really have to have strong criteria on what is and what isn't allowed."
"It's just one of the tools to help the referees," Boucher said, "and everybody else."
Salo hurt: Boucher said he has "no clue" how long Sami Salo will be out. But GM Steve Yzerman said the lower-body injury that knocked the defenseman out of the game in the second period against the Sabres is "nothing major."
Closer: LW Ryan Malone, out nine games with a lower-body injury, skated with the team Tuesday morning, though he wore an orange jersey signifying he is not cleared for contact. "It's exciting to get back on the ice with the guys," Malone said.
It still is unclear when Malone will play. Boucher said it will not be Thursday at the Rangers. Malone isn't even certain he will fly to New York with the team, though he said he hopes to at least join it while it travels on its four-game road trip.
Malone, with four goals and five points in 10 games, was hurt Feb. 10 when he aggravated an existing condition during a pregame soccer ball kick-around. Asked if pregame soccer is off his schedule, he said, "Yeah, probably for me."
Odds and ends: C Steven Stamkos is the first NHL player this season with goals in six straight games. He also has seven goals, six assists in a seven-game points streak. … Stamkos had eight shots on goal against the Sabres. … LW Cory Conacher has two goals, four assists in a six-game points streak. … The Lightning played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. … F Adam Hall was scratched.