Some clarity in NHL’s Sportvision use for goal, video review

A day after I posed some questions I had about how the new Sportvision technology would be used in video review of goals, the Washington Post gained some clarity.

WaPo wrote an overarching view on how the technology would impact the NHL and its players on and off the ice, but we are treated just to a small nugget of what it means for goal review:

“There may be times when we’ll see it and it hits off a goalie’s skate and crosses the line, and for whatever reason the camera angles didn’t get in,” Adams said. “I think it’ll aid in making that decision.”

In other words, the officials will just do their job like they normally do, then defer to the tracking system – like they currently do video replay – if the situation calls for it. For instance, did the puck get deflected into the goal from above the crossbar?

That’s Sportvision CEO Hank Adams speaking to the post in the quote above with a paragraph by Post beat writer Alex Prewitt, but the brief item doesn’t fully give a rundown of scenarios that are presented.

The NHL’s War Room has been known to call a rink and get the timekeeper to blow the horn in the middle of play to get the refs on the phone because they saw on their feed there was a good goal. The St. Louis Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford noted this procedural change as much in November:

Beginning with the Blues’ game in Boston, when a goal goes undetected by on-ice officials but is confirmed by the NHL’s situation room in Toronto, a horn will sound to stop play and award the score.

That situation unfolded in the Blues’ 4-3 win over Nashville last Thursday. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson scored with 7 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first period. The goal was not seen by referees, or the players for that matter, and play continued until 5:28 remained in the period.

During the 1:47 of elapsed time, Blues goal judge Jim Kehm contacted Toronto to point out the goal, and once it was confirmed and a stoppage occurred, the horn sounded and Gunnarsson was awarded the goal. With the change, the game will be halted immediately after the goal is detected.

“I think if they know for certainty that the puck went into the net, they want to stop play and award the goal because what happens if there’s a penalty or something else happens, that stays on the clock?” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “So once they know the goal is in, I think it’s smart: stop the play, award the goal, and continue play again rather than going like we did the other day with Gunny for over two minutes.”

You would think whomever is tasked with watching a certain game in the War Room that the Sportvision feed of the game showing the puck’s track will be automatically turned on. I’d imagine the guys in Toronto are watching standard replay anyway before they call the arena to stop play. This actually might speed things up.

Moving on to the other issue about high-stick calls on a puck deflected into a goal, it’s still not clear if the data can transmit height of the puck. The War Room is still stuck with the same camera angles unless everybody gets a GoPro, so while the Sportvision tracking should help in added information illustrating a deflection point, there is still some human judgment calls involved.

Man, could you imagine if this was around when we had to worry about crease violations?


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