The NHL Needs To Fix How Goals Are Scored

December 28, 2010 | Chad Lamasa

“We have instrumentation that we put into the system called Eye on the Ice that we monitor; (it) sends us signals all the time,” NHL ice chief Dan Craig said. “Every 15 minutes we’ll log and trend it so we can graph what’s happening on any given day. And every city we go to, we have a complete weather breakdown of our area so we know what (weather) systems are coming through.”

The above quotation came from an article by Alan Robinson, AP Sports Writer, in reference to the upcoming Winter Classic being in jeopardy due to bad weather. This is fantastic technology. Which brings me to the point of this blog.

If the NHL can do something like this, why can’t they insert a chip in the puck and some sort of sensor in either the goal line or on the camera inside the net?

This arises from the fact that many goals are washed out because the ref can’t see the puck in the goalie’s glove, underneath the goalie or if it’s swept out quickly by either a defensive player or the goalie.

For those not as familiar with the rules of hockey, unlike football, it’s not a goal until the puck is completely across the goal line. So if the puck is stopped before it clears the line the goal is waived off. So, often questions arise about where the puck is in relation to the goal line.

Case in point, Mike Green’s (what would have been a game winning) goal in over time against the Penguins on December 23rd.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N6yBWgYPxA[/youtube]

In the above video (which is clearly pro Penguins) you can see Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove is beyond the goal line with the puck underneath it. Even after review from the NHL offices in Toronto, the no goal stood.

I understand the ref waiving it off as it was bang bang and very hard to see at real speed. But in several of the replays I’ve seen, you can see the puck through the netting in Fleury’s glove past the line. The Caps went on to lose in the shootout thus losing a vital point in the standings.

Whether this goal should have counted or not isn’t the issue. The issue is that things like this could be avoided with some technology.

The NHL tends to be proactive with this kind of stuff. They tried the glowing puck on FOX broadcasts, maybe that was a creation of FOX Sports but I’m sure the NHL had to sign off on it.

The intention was to help novice viewers learn to follow the puck and keep up with the fast pace. Unfortunately, to the experienced viewer it was just a distraction that took your eye away from the game.

Just because that didn’t work doesn’t mean that this couldn’t work.

Every store you go in has a sensor attached to every product. If you try to leave without paying it sets off an alarm. So why can’t a sensor be placed inside the puck that would trigger the goal horn when it crosses the goal line?

Maybe it wouldn’t be cost effective to do that considering how many pucks are used over the course of an NHL season. Maybe something can be added to the cameras inside the net. There are only 60 of those (30 teams, two goals each).

Try it at a practice facility or in the Research & Development camps before the season starts, if it doesn’t work, the idea can be scrapped. But something should be done to ensure the proper call is made and not left up to judgment.

It could be the difference of a team getting eliminated from a trip to the post-season or from a series in the playoffs.

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