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GMs meetings: Coach's challenge, compensation are hot topics in Toronto

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Rule changes take center stage at GM's meeting (3:57)

Pierre LeBrun and Craig Custance report from Toronto with the latest on clarifications on rule changes, including the coaches challenge, and which youngsters are making names for themselves ahead of the World Cup of hockey. (3:57)

TORONTO -- The coach's challenge was reviewed as expected, specifically the goalie interference aspect.

"We have had some issues with coach's challenge," NHL executive vice president Colin Campbell said. "The issues, I guess, is that we don't want to go back to 'toe in the crease.'"

Which is to say the general managers and league don't want to go back to the late 1990s, when a toe in the blue paint would negate a goal. That was disaster. Brett Hull in Buffalo, anybody?

And so the feeling in the room Tuesday was to overturn goals where the goalie is clearly interfered with, but don't get too ticky-tacky with it. The league will be in touch with refs to tweak their goalie interference reviews to reflect this.

"We've had some issues where we might want to see the other decision," Campbell said. "But the referees are adapting fairly well; it's the first time they're doing something like this."

The bottom line, though, is that most GMs are happy so far with how it's working.

"The coach's challenge is working. We're getting more right calls, but for anyone who thinks we're going to get 100 percent perfection, I mean, it's the hardest call to make in the game," veteran Nashville GM David Poile said. "We've thrown more resources at it to the refs on the ice [with video review]. We're trying the best we can to get it right."

Executive Compensation Reviewed

As Craig Custance wrote Tuesday morning, team personnel compensation issue is a tense issue and was indeed discussed in the general managers meeting.

There are many GMs who don't agree that fired personnel should warrant draft-pick compensation in the new rule -- for example, the Vancouver Canucks netting a second-round pick in return for John Tortorella's hiring by the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this season.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that the new rule needs to take a full one-year cycle to Jan. 1 before there's a decision made on the future of it.

"They've asked us to think about it, and when we meet again, we'll talk about it," Canucks GM Jim Benning said. "My own personal opinion on it is that I think it will get modified for sure if they decide to keep it."

The key there is, if the league decides to keep it. Bettman was never a fan of this rule to begin with.

"There are a lot of sticking issues. This was not a clean policy from start to finish," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said after Tuesday's meeting.

The issue will be further dissected/debated at the Board of Governors meeting in Pebble Beach (Dec. 7-9), and that makes sense since it's as much an owners issue as it is for GMs.

Stay tuned, but if I had to bet, I think Bettman wants to simply scrap this whole thing.

Other nuggets from Tuesday's six-hour GMs meeting:

  • Daly shed light to GMs on the Mike Richards settlement with the Los Angeles Kings, which left some GMs unhappy because they saw it as a potential circumvention of the collective bargaining agreement. The league says it's not at all a circumvention and falls well within the rules of the CBA.

    "They wanted to know a little bit of background about it, and I explained it to them," Daly said.

  • There were questions from GMs to Bettman on potential expansion rules as far as roster protection and the expansion draft. What Bettman told them, according to one source, is that it's too premature to talk about those things, that the league was still taking its time on the expansion front.

  • Kay Whitmore, from the NHL's hockey ops department -- or, as I like to call him, the NHL's goalie police -- also addressed the GMs. He plans to continue to work with the NHLPA through the direction of the Competition Committee in regards to further reducing the size of goalie equipment, particularly in the chest and pant area. This is always a contentious area for goalies, and the NHLPA is very protective of its members in net. However, goal scoring is once again a difficult chore in the NHL, and there's a common direction from GMs and the league's head office to find ways to increase scoring.

    Bigger nets aren't attractive to most GMs, so further decreasing goalie equipment is seen as an avenue to pursue.