Bettman: NHL replay a model for other leagues

DALLAS -- When it comes to replay, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman talks like a proud papa.

After all, the NHL has had replay for decades now, and it's being used as a model by other sports leagues.

“We’ve been doing replay longer than anybody else,” Bettman said prior to Monday’s Game 3 of the first-round series between the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks. “When you do replay, the expectation that everybody has is that you will get it right all of the time.”

Of course, nothing is perfect all the time. Baseball is already finding that out with its foray into replay this season.

“It takes time to work the kinks out of it,” Bettman said. “Since we’ve been at it something like 20 years, what we do, we try to do well. We’ve had a lot of experience and are very focused.”

Baseball has followed hockey’s model when it comes to a central replay center. The NHL has its replay officials in a room in Toronto, while baseball has its command center in New York.

Bettman stressed that hockey has had success because replay is limited.

“You can’t or you shouldn’t be doing it for things where there’s still uncertainty,” Bettman said. “We do it around the goal. Is it a good goal? We’re very specific. We continue to have discussions about whether or not it should or can be extended to other things. It’s been very difficult to get comfortable with extending it because we don’t want to get it extended to something where there’s still going to be some ambiguity.”

Baseball has many more calls that necessitate the use of replay, though it hasn’t found its way into every part of the game and isn’t likely to, especially where balls and strikes are concerned. And unlike hockey, baseball is rotating umpires into its command center. The NHL uses a crew of folks who have been doing it for a while, believing that consistency is critical.

“One of the things that I think the other leagues are looking at carefully is the fact that we do it centrally and that’s to get the consistency,” Bettman said. “The same people are doing it in every building, every night. That’s a lot different than people who are, in effect, part-timers doing it in every building in North America because you might get some inconsistent results.”

Bettman is curious to see how replay goes in baseball and if the NFL ever decides to alter its system and go with a central officiating crew.