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NHL GMs reject proposal on goal challenges

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

TORONTO -- NHL general managers shelved a proposal Tuesday to allow coaches to challenge goal calls.

Panthers GM Dale Tallon put the item on the agenda at the general manager meetings but didn't receive much support from his colleagues. Florida lost a game in Toronto this season when the referees missed a blatant goaltender interference call.

Tallon wanted to give coaches the ability to challenge similar plays. He says there was a "lot of conversation" about the proposal but it's a "dead issue."

The annual fall meeting is intended to give GMs a chance to discuss issues and lay the groundwork for some of the topics that will come up again in March. From there, they can make recommendations for any rule changes or tweaks.

It's clear the biggest item on the group's radar in the spring will be the evolution of the new penalty on hits to the head -- rule 48. Four players have received supplemental discipline as a result of the rule -- including San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton, who disagreed with the two-game suspension he was given last week.

Even though there's been some confusion in the first few weeks of the season, the GMs sound committed to keeping the penalty.

"In general, we feel the league is doing the right things to protect the players in that situation," said Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley. "You have to protect them. And you have to do it without changing the basic structure of the game and I think that's been done."

A video was shown as evidence of progress being made. The video had highlights players backing off hits in potentially dangerous situations -- notably Blues forward David Backes and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

"I think the rule will evolve and without any new rules (being made)," Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier said. "It can be moved to the appropriate stage based on what happens over the course of the season."

The overwhelming message to Colin Campbell and his hockey operations staff was wait before making changes.

In other news, the GMs decided to revisit Red Wings GM Ken Holland's proposed overtime change again in March. He wants to see overtime extended to eight minutes, with the first half played 4-on-4 and the second half 3-on-3.

That change would need to be made as part of collective bargaining with the NHLPA because it is an employment issue.

One of the more interesting topics of discussion was on social media. The NHL is the only major North American sports league that doesn't have a formal policy governing the use of Twitter and Facebook.

Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney has a number of players active on Twitter, including colorful enforcer Paul Bissonette, and put the topic on the agenda.

"Really the point of talking about it, for all us 50-somethings in there, this whole Twitter/Facebook we don't quite understand it," Maloney said. "And yet this was more a discussion on how do we get ahead of it? We don't want to discourage the personalities, we want the personalities."