Coach’s challenges for goaltender interference and the ensuing arguments aren’t going away.There will just be a new place to direct the complaints.With the goal of refining the consistency of goalie interference challenges
, NHL general managers on Wednesday recommended shifting the decision from on-ice officials to the league’s situation room in Toronto. The change could go into effect as soon as the playoffs, which begin April 11, after the NHL Players’ Association signed off and now just needs approval from the board of governors.”The players want consistency in the application of the rule, and therefore support this proposed change in order to help accomplish that goal,” said NHLPA special assistant to the executive direct Mathieu Schneider said after consulting with competition committee members and other players.Commissioner Gary Bettman said only perhaps a half-dozen of about 170 challenges this season were controversial, yet GMs overwhelmingly were in favor of a centralized location for final decisions.”The objective is to be as close to perfect as possible,” Bettman said, noting goalie interference is a judgment call. ”The recommended change is intended to help resolve the rare cases in which the situation room and the referees might have different opinions of a particular play and is intended to produce more predictability for our players and coaches.”Currently, on-ice officials have the final say on whether a goal should count or be disallowed when challenged. Under the proposed change, the officials would continue to be involved, but a member of the NHL Officiating Management Team – made up of former referees – would be part of the decision-making process.Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said this won’t affect how he approaches challenging goalie interference but believes having someone outside the area making the call is a positive.”There’s some referees who are more established and, I’d say, sure of themselves, they won’t reverse the calls,” Trotz said. ”They almost say
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, `That’s the way I saw it and that’s the way it is and live with it.’ And others get swayed by what they see or maybe the crowd or another coach or how the game’s going.”So it’s no different than the student marking their own papers. Let’s have a non-emotional person who has no skin in the game and is not in an emotional environment to make those calls and I think you’ll find it will be more consistent.”Coaches and goaltenders have complained about the inconsistency all season. Bettman said during All-Star weekend in late January that officials might be ”overthinking” reviews and that the intent was, ”Take a quick look, but don’t search it to death.”The league sent a memo to all teams outlining the standard, which is closer to what Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock prefers. Hitchcock said he and his colleagues want to lean toward allowing more contact and counting more goals.”We’re tie goes to the runner,” Hitchcock said. ”I think that’s how a lot of the coaches feel is that when you see a situation that is a positive-area sacrifice (for players), give the runner the benefit.”It took years of debate for GMs to approve coach’s challenges for offside and goaltender interference, which are in their third season. The gray area in interpretation still causes issues.”I don’t know what is and what isn’t,” New York Islanders coach Doug Weight said recently. I think there’s a lot of confusion. That’s tough. It’s frustrating for us.”The hope is to lessen the frustration by letting a rotation of former officials take over. But nothing about the way goalie interference is called is being changed.Former player Ray Ferraro suggested adopting the international standard that says a goal is waved off if a skater interferes with a goalie’s positioning but allows it to count if the goalie initiates contact.”You’re never going to find a solution for this because what you see when you’re 200 feet away in a press box is different from what you see on TV, which is different from what is happening on the ice,” goaltending analyst Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild said. ”I feel bad for the referees because it’s so hard to make that call in that moment, but to go to Toronto and expect Toronto to get it right every single time, you’re at the mercy of what they’re seeing on a TV screen, not what actually happened on the ice. For the goalies, that’s super frustrating.”— GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) With a win in the regular season finale
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, the Anaheim Ducks secured home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and finally know who they’ll face: the Pacific Division-rival San Jose Sharks.Rickard Rakell had a goal and assist, and Ryan Miller made 31 saves to lead the surging Ducks to a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night, helping Anaheim clinch second place in the division.Rakell scored for the 12th time in his last 19 games. He led the Ducks with a career-high 34 goals and 69 points this season.”We know they have a good power play and they’re strong around the boards,” Rakell said of the Sharks. ”They have four good lines working really hard, so we’re going to have to match that.”Miller earned his fourth shutout of the season and 43rd of his career. It was also his 370th career win, moving him past Tom Barrasso for second place on the all-time list among U.S.-born goalies.”Definitely somebody I looked up to,” Miller said of Barrasso. ”Just happy to still be playing meaningful hockey and getting some wins.”Adam Henrique scored his 24th of the season for Anaheim and added an assist, and Hampus Lindholm scored an empty-netter before the final buzzer.The Ducks (44-25-13) won their fifth straight to finish 10-1-1 over the final 12 games.The Coyotes (29-41-12) finished last in the Pacific, but went 17-9-3 in their last 29 games in a season they started 1-12-1.”I thought we got better from October, so there’s some good positive things,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. ”We just ran out of gas tonight. For the most part, the last 25, 30 games, we beat some good hockey teams and I thought some of the young guys really progressed, which is nice.”The two teams combined for 26 penalty minutes.Arizona goalie Antti Raanta appeared in his first game since signing a three-year
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, $12.75 million contract on Friday that will keep him from free agency. He stopped 24 shots.”Anaheim, they played a strong game,” Raanta said. ”Everyone left everything on the ice but sometimes puck luck isn’t on your side.”An altercation between Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn and Ducks forward Nick Ritchie in the first period resulted in minor penalties for both. That was followed by another confrontation involving Arizona’s Brad Richardson and Anaheim’s Derek Grant, with Richardson sent to the penalty box for two minutes.The power play for the Ducks helped when Henrique muscled in a backhand for a goal at 10:54 of the period, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Rakell got an assist, his 35th.Richardson and Anaheim’s Corey Perry served five minutes for fighting early in the second period. The Ducks missed a chance to add to their lead when Jakob Silfverberg hit the post with a shot at 13:07 of the second.Rakell scored off a pass from Ryan Getzlaf with 3:43 left in the second. Getzlaf picked up his team-leading 50th assist of the season.Perry earned his 400th assist on Henrique’s goal.Anaheim logged its fifth consecutive 100-point season as a team.”We had a plan. We tried to execute the plan. I’m not standing here saying it was perfect by any means, we had a lot of speed bumps on the way,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. ”We’ve got our group together here over the last six weeks and we’ve played good enough to gain points.”NOTES: The Coyotes brought up D Joel Hanley on emergency recall from Tucson, their AHL affiliate, in time for Saturday’s game. … C Clayton Keller, a rookie and the team’s leading scorer this season, was voted Coyotes Most Valuable Player for the season as voted on by local media. … Ducks C Antoine Vermette and F Troy Terry played Saturday, Vermette’s first game since March 23 and Terry’s second of the season. F Jason Chimera and F J.T. Brown were scratched. … A moment of silence was held in remembrance of lives lost in the fatal bus crash involving a junior hockey team in Canada Friday night.UP NEXTDucks: Western Conference playoffs vs. San JoseCoyotes: Offseason.