Campbell invited the clubs to submit video examples of the problem [with current officiating], which nine did. Most of the examples involved uncalled obstruction and interference — in particular a subtle maneuver that is not currently illegal but impedes offensive flow nevertheless.
Called mirroring, it occurs when a defenseman skates in the same route taken by a forechecker trying to get to a puck that has been dumped into the offensive zone. The defenseman skates slightly in front of him, mirroring his path at a slower speed and preventing him from proceeding at full speed.
The managers might see it as slippage in the standard, but referees might view it as not explicitly violating the rules.
“It’s not holding or interference; it’s just getting in the guy’s way,” said Gary Meagher, the league’s vice president of communications, who is closely involved in the managers’ meetings.
Mirroring should be an item on the agenda when the officiating conference convenes, one month before the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement and a potential owners’ lockout.
Right. The defenseman “skates the same route” as a forward, only before the forward actually does it? I think that’s called establishing position. The defenseman is occupying the most valuable real estate: the direct path to the puck. The forward is free to skate around the defenseman and his clever “mirroring.” The defenseman isn’t allowed to impede the progress of the forward. That’s interference. But you can’t have a rule that says a player isn’t allowed to skate between an opponent and the puck. And you can’t have a rule that makes it illegal for players to protect their own lane to the puck. Nor can you make a rule that makes it illegal for a defenseman to slow down while approaching the puck. In addition to all the myriad ways that’s stupid, imagine the injuries that would result from players being prevented from (a) jockeying for position en route to the puck, or (b) slowing down.
I have an idea: get faster forwards.