Capitals

Quick Links

Why the suggested tweak to the goalie interference rule makes sense to Barry Trotz

usatsi_9275656.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Why the suggested tweak to the goalie interference rule makes sense to Barry Trotz

Goalie interference has become one of the most controversial calls in hockey and that has led to the general managers calling for a tweak to the rules before the playoffs.

As the general managers wrapped up their meetings in Florida on Wednesday, they issued a recommendation to the league’s Board of Governors that the final decision for all coach’s challenges for goaltender interference come from the Situation Room in Toronto where a retired referee will be included in the process.

If approved, the change will be enacted for the start of the playoffs.

The issue with goalie interference is consistency. It is an inherently subjective call so on any given night, it is hard to know how the rule will be officiated. That is a problem considering these calls can take goals off the board. The hope is that by requiring that all calls be made by the Situation Room, it will bring more consistency.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE CAPS' TOP 5 PLAYS OF THE WEEK

The news was met by skepticism from Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer.

“I can't tell you right now at this point if that's going to change anything,” he said. “If they still communicate with the linesmen, I'm sure they do, but in the end it's a grey area and it's been a grey area for a bunch of years now.”

One issue with the change is that while the Situation Room will make the final call, it will not always have the same personnel for each game and the retired referee to be included will not always be the same individual. Saying the Situation Room will make the call sounds great, but if the calls are still being reviewed by different people every night, will that really lead to greater consistency?

Head coach Barry Trotz thinks so. He applauded the change Wednesday explaining that different factors can weigh on a referee when he is the one making the call.

“Some referees who are more established and more sure of themselves, they won't reverse their calls,” Trotz said. “They just almost say, that's the way I saw it and that's the way it is and live with it. Others get swayed by what they see or maybe the crowd or another coach or how the game is going. 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'll be more consistent.”

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CAPS' TOP PROSPECTS

If the main issue of the goalie interference was the referees being made to judge their own calls, then yes, this new rule change will go a long way towards fixing the consistency problem.

But perhaps it is unreasonable to expect calls to ever be black and white on a play and a rule that never is.

“Every situation is different,” Grubauer said. “There's no situation that's the same. Did he get bumped in? Was it intentional? Was the goalie intentional making contact? All points they have to look at and it happens so fast. I hope it's going to get better and I hope they will get a foundation down for it.”

Quick Links

Capitals welcomed on White House visit to celebrate Stanley Cup

Capitals welcomed on White House visit to celebrate Stanley Cup

WASHINGTON – The Capitals made their long-awaited visit to the White House on Monday to celebrate their 2018 Stanley Cup. 

Players, coaches and team owners and executives surrounded President Trump and the Stanley Cup, which stood on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. The event came just 16 days before Washington begins its defense of the Cup when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin on April 10. 

“We welcome most importantly the entire Capitals team,” President Trump said. “They're winners. They know how to win and I think you're going to see that starting in a little while.”

The Capitals arrived at The White House at about 2 p.m. for a 45-minute tour of the West Wing. After that, they waited in the Roosevelt Room until summoned to the Oval Office to meet Trump, who lauded their 2017-18 season, noted their win over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round and asked “How are they doing?”

Trump asked captain Alex Ovechkin, defenseman John Carlson and owner Ted Leonsis to say a few words. He ribbed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. And, no, the team was not fed fast food as some of the college championship teams have been in recent months, especially during the 35-day government shut down in December and January. 

All Capitals players still on the team and eligible to attend were there save for goalie Braden Holtby and forward Brett Connolly. Devante Smith-Pelly, who scored the game-tying goal in the decisive Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, is in the minors with AHL Hershey and previously said he would not attend.  

A clean-cut Ovechkin was compared to Babe Ruth by Trump for his combined 64 goals last year between the regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs. Trump also said daughter Ivanka is a big fan of the Washington captain. Ivanka Trump was in attendance. President Trump compared Carlson to Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr, but Carlson, who was born in Massachusetts, knew better than to let that comparison to the Boston sports legend go. 

“He’s a LOT better than me,” Carlson said. 

“My speech is gonna be much easier than it was in the [championship] parade,” Ovechkin said, referencing his profane, entertaining ode to the fans last June 12. “But thank you very much for having us. It's huge honor for us to be here and meet you personally. We're gonna try to do it again. We have same team, experienced team, very good group of guys and we're gonna try to do it again.”

After select media members were let into the Oval Office for a photo opportunity, Capitals players and staff took individual photos with the President and were able to have brief conversations with him. Players were given souvenir pens and candy. 

"You brought the Stanley Cup home. Thousands of adoring fans greeted you. They were all over the place,” Trump said. “And I have a feeling you're going to be doing it again. You're champions. You have a champion's heart…and I just want to wish you a lot of luck. In Washington that's all that they want to talk about. They don't want to talk about anything else. I can't get the subject on to anything else, so you've got to win quickly because we've got to get back to work.” 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Michal Kempny takes White House tour on crutches, Todd Reirden declares his injury 'long-term'

kempny_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Michal Kempny takes White House tour on crutches, Todd Reirden declares his injury 'long-term'

The Capitals visited the White House on Monday in the traditional trip afforded to the Stanley Cup champions. Among the players in attendance was injured defenseman Michal Kempny. A picture from the Oval Office showed Kempny in the background with crutches.

This is the first we have publicly seen Kempny since he was injured in Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kempny was engaged with Lightning forward Cedric Paquette after the whistle. Kempny fell awkwardly on his left leg as Paquette forced him to the ice and had to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel. He did not appear to be putting any weight on his left leg at all on his way to the locker room.

There is still no definitive timetable for how long Kempny may be out, though Reirden said Monday after practice that, “It's going to be a long-term injury.”

The delay in getting a timetable is over treatment options. It is still being decided how best to treat Kempny’s injury and until that decision is made, there is no timetable to give. Reirden indicated surgery was a possibility.

“That's what we're going through right now: Different options and what the right thing to do is,” he said.

Both Reirden’s update and the fact that Kempny remains on crutches several days after the injury is a pretty good indication that this is not going to be a short-term issue. It appears the Caps should prepare for not having Kempny for at least the start of the playoffs, if not longer.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS