This may come as a complete surprise to some, but the NHL has gone ahead with their plans of eliminating the Goal Judge, who sits directly behind the net at each end of the ice. Historically, the man in the box would signal a goal by illuminating the Red Light after the puck crosses the goal line. As any Islander fan would know from last season, there were some times that a goal was waved off on the ice after the goal judge signaled a goal. The referee has the power to whistle a play dead (sometimes without review), or review the play on video replay in tricky situations.
The idea to remove the goal judges from behind the net is the result of a new initiative by the NHL to add several additional camera angles, including a high definition overhead shot of the nets. The goal judges will not be eliminated completely, but will be relocated to other areas of the arena – the exact position will vary from club to club. Some purists claim that this will hinder judgments on hard to determine calls. In my opinion, I feel that the goal judge’s job was obsolete – as technology has allowed the league to monitor goals via closed circuit and live television feeds. Just look at “The War Room” in Toronto – just about every angle is covered at every game any given night. Should they add the high definition feeds, I don’t think there will be much of a problem.
For me – as long as the light gets lit when a goal is scored, I could care less if the goal judge is in an aisle, the press box or at home watching on TV.
One detail that is confusing, the league left it up to the individual organizations to do away with the boxes or keep them. I have not really found any information regarding our Islanders though – so time will tell. If I hear from the Isles PR, I will keep you up to date.