Mr. Colley, meet Mr. Stirling.
A few things before the game tonight (another post coming), after lunchtime entertainment listening to a guy tell the sandwich guy he ordered turkey, “and what are you trying to pull,” and the guy starting to yell and scream and go on and on and on… and then watching security come a-running (he didn’t order turkey):
–The Islanders called up Kevin Poulin and Rhett Rakhshani this afternoon. They put Marty Reasoner on IR to make room; Reasoner has been out most of the month. Bridgeport doesn’t practice until Wednesday, travel until Thursday, play until Friday.
–By the way, trying to figure out when to chat this week. Thursday at 1:30 is most likely at this point.
–From the Dave Andrews presser this morning, the league will keep in place the video-replay system in Bridgeport. That’s in no small part because they never got to use it in January; They’ll have up to eight chances in February.
It’ll remain up to the on-ice officials to take a look if they want, but he said they’ll consider having an off-ice official give a look in the press box as well.
They want to see how it works, basically, and there wasn’t a play in any of the four games in January that let them try it, for lack of a better term, for real.
“Not that we don’t think the system will work. We know it works,” Andrews said. “We want to use it and get the kinks out of it.”
Teams are looking at the costs, which have been a stumbling block in the past.
“I think we will have it,” Andrews said. “It’s an economic issue, and it’s very expensive to put in a system that does all the things we would like it to do. … It’s a cost/benefit thing. How many times a year are you going to need it?”
Andrews said they expect only to use replay to see if a puck crossed the goal line, including whether it crossed the line before the end of a period. (So, for instance, Mathieu Perreault’s goal in Game 1 in Hershey wouldn’t be reviewable.)
Some other highlights from the 45-minute-or-so chat:
–The schedule should remain at 76 games next season. Having Christmas on Sunday this year made for some tougher scheduling, taking out a whole weekend, but it’s a Tuesday next season.
–He said attendance is up around the league, and revenues are up even more.
–Andrews gave an unprompted shoutout to Bridgeport for Wednesday night’s crowd. “Weeknights in Bridgeport in the past were not very well-attended,” Andrews said. “It was really a good crowd, a good game. I was very impressed. I think they’re making good progress.” (Fortunately, there aren’t many weeknights in Bridgeport this year.)
–The league will have two referees in something like 35 percent of games this year, plus all playoff games. He expects to have two refs for all games within five years. That’s limited by the pool of qualified referees: “We’re moving them through as the NHL believes they’re ready,” Andrews said.
–The league has more than doubled its number of suspensions, and more than tripled the number of games. “We’re really looking at a predatory type of hits, whether it’s a head check, or whether it’s boarding, charging, where we see intent to injure on the part of the player as opposed to a hockey play.”
He said they worked closely with Brendan Shanahan, and they’ll even talk Shanahan if they have a call they’re not sure of.
–He said they’ve seen more concussions happen in practice than on illegal hits.
–He expects no realignment; this remains the best geographic fit for the AHL. A big issue with the conference-based playoff format is playoff travel; with more permutations going down to the wire, travel is pretty much last-minute and expensive.