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Hockey

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It's official: No more NHL video replays

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Posted: Tuesday June 22, 1999 08:02 PM

  Bettman said he was unaware of any official protest by the Sabres over the Game 6 decision. Donald Miralle/Allsport

NEW YORK (CNN/SI) -- The NHL is cutting back on instant replay just as the NFL is bringing in back.

"It's no longer zero tolerance, we're going to leave the crease to a judgment call," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday. He announced that the league will no longer use videotape replays to decide disputed calls when a player is in the crease.

Bettman said Colin Campbell, the NHL's director of hockey operations, will work on a new interpretation of the rule, and he is expected to have it in place for on-ice officials before the start of the 1999-2000 season.

"We are going to go more to an interpretation standard, but we are still going to keep the old [man-in-the-crease] rule," Bettman said.

Bettman said the action had nothing to do with the recent uproar at the Stanley Cup finals over Brett Hull's questionable goal, but rather with keeping the game more spontaneous.

Bettman said it was his opinion that videotape reviews cause games to lose their momentum. The video replay situation was discussed by the league's general managers about a week before the controversial Game 6 in Buffalo's Marine Midland Arena, Bettman said.

"We're relying too much on replay [for goal decisions]," Bettman said.

In other action, the board approved a new system for overtime. The NHL had 161 of its 220 overtime games end in ties this past season and would like to see more of them resolved.

In the 1999-2000 season, when teams are tied after regulation, they will each receive a point in the standings. Then a five-minute overtime period will be held, with each team using four skaters instead of five. A winning team would receive another point.

Videotape replay will remain in use for all other existing circumstances, such as if the puck has crossed the goal line, if it is in the net prior to the goal frame being dislodged, or if it is in the net before time has expired.

Bettman's announcement came less than two days after a huge controversy following Dallas' 2-1 triple-overtime victory over Buffalo that gave the Stars the Stanley Cup.

The game was decided early Sunday morning when Hull scored from in front with one of his skates clearly in the goal crease. The rule usually disallows a goal if an offensive player has any part of his body in the crease.

The Sabres said a replay showed that Hull's goal should have been disallowed because his skate preceded the puck into the crease before he shot it past Dominik Hasek.

The official response from the league after the goal was that it didn't matter that Hull had his skate in the crease, but that he had full control of the puck. Supervisor of officials Bryan Lewis said the play was reviewed on videotape at least six times.

Other than saying "the absolute right call" was made on Hull's goal, Bettman would not address the Game 6 controversy.

"The rule was absolutely, correctly applied," Bettman said. "Everyone understands it was the right call."

The rule, drawn up to protect goalies from injury, is disliked by many skaters. Many goals have been disallowed by infractions that are purely incidental to the play, such as a teammate's skate in the crease away from the action.

The new overtime format was used by the American Hockey League this season on an experimental basis, and the league was satisfied with the results: Of the 44 games that went into overtime, 27 had the ties broken.

The board also approved an increase in the number of games officiated under the two-referee system to 700 from last season's 270,

The governors also approved the expected transfer of ownership of the Washington Capitals to a group composed of Ted Leonsis, Jon Ledecky and Richard Patrick from Abe Pollin.


 
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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