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MacLellan is hopeful goalie interference reviews will fix bad calls in the playoffs, not cause them

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USA TODAY Sports

MacLellan is hopeful goalie interference reviews will fix bad calls in the playoffs, not cause them

Goalie interference is one of the most controversial rules in the NHL. Brian MacLellan knows that and he also recognizes the problem.

The call now is an inherently subjective call. That means what qualifies as interference to one referee may not meet the standard of another, leading to the call being officiated differently from game to game.

There are a lot of calls in hockey that are subjective, but considering each coach’s challenge has the potential to take a goal off the board, the fact that no one can agree what is and is not goalie interference on any given night is a significant problem.

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The NHL general managers tried to fix the problem by giving the final decision on challenges to the situation room in Toronto rather than the referees on the ice. While MacLellan applauded the move, he also thought it did not go far enough to fix the problem.

“I think there could be more clarification on parts of the rules, which they haven't addressed yet,” MacLellan said Friday in an interview with the media. “Things such as incidental contact by a puck-carrier versus a non-puck-carrier. You know, blue paint versus white paint. I think the rules could be tightened up a little bit where there's some incidental contact allowed and some that shouldn't be allowed.”

As a general manager, he is acutely aware of the issue that whatever he may deem to be interference is very different than many of his colleagues.

MacLellan noted that the general managers look at goalie interference challenges whenever they meet to try and determine if a consensus can be reached.

 “They're just judgment calls where half the guys in the room will vote one way and half the guys will vote the other way,” he said. “People measure goalie interference different."

And that’s the problem.

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We have seen goalie interference calls in the regular season essentially determine the outcome of a game. Now that the playoffs are here, those games are more significant. This rule could potentially determine series and even championships.

But before you panic or declare the league should get rid of coach’s challenges altogether, MacLellan cautioned that the rule is in place to prevent such mistakes from happening, not to cause them.

"I think the goalie interference call gives the referees a chance to reverse a call, to make it right,” MacLellan said. “In theory, it gives a chance not for that to happen. Hopefully, that's the way it works out."

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

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The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

We all knew this was coming, right?

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and for the 11th time in franchise history. Washington has only beaten Pittsburgh once in their previous 10 series. This season gives them the opportunity to get over the second round and Pittsburgh hump once and for all.

Will this year be different? Will the Caps finally take down their arch nemesis? Will they finally advance to the conference final?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps-Penguins matchup in the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page