What we learned from the last week in the NHL:
Goaltender-interference debate continues
General managers set aside 90 minutes of their annual March meeting to discuss goaltender interference, the review process and the inconsistent way the rule is interpreted and enforced. They spent twice that time on the topic Monday and came away with no consensus other than it’s too subjective to create absolute rules. They’re expected to continue talking Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla.
“I think something positive will come out of it,” Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello told Canada’s TSN network. “There should be a change and there will be. It’s just making sure it’s the right thing.”
Nothing will change immediately but the NHL might recruit an active or recently retired on-ice official to help decide goaltender-interference challenges during the playoffs.
Win-win for Donato, Bruins
Forward Ryan Donato, one of the best players on the U.S. Olympic team at the Pyeongchang Games, decided to skip his senior year at Harvard — where he was coached by his father, Ted — to sign a two-year entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. Donato, who made his NHL debut Monday night, is in a good situation.
The Bruins are challenging for the No. 1 record but they’ve had to deal with injuries to forwards David Backes, Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk. That means Donato can step in and get experience in key situations. General manager Don Sweeney told the Boston Globe that the opportunity for Donato is similar to the chance Charlie McAvoy got with the Bruins last year after leaving Boston University — and that worked out fine for both sides.
“We are not going to put any expectations on him,” Sweeney said of Donato. “But he’s a confident kid, and he has a skill-set that we all acknowledge that he can score goals and shoot the puck.”
Playoffs are in Blue Jackets’ sights
The Columbus Blue Jackets have developed enough depth to win consistently, as evidenced by their seven-game winning streak going into Monday’s game at Boston. Coach John Tortorella has regularly rolled four lines and players seem to be accepting their roles. In addition, they’ve been able to withstand the absence of standout defenseman Seth Jones, who is sidelined because of an upper-body injury.
“This is a team that was always a battle to play against, even when it was struggling,” trade-deadline acquisition Ian Cole told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s just the identity that the Columbus Blue Jackets have. If we can continue to play with that identity, and also make plays and finish and create with the high-end talent and skill players we have, it makes for a very good mixture going forward.”
Kane has been able