Wednesday night, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on several new rule changes that have been codified for the 2017-18 NHL season. Coach’s challenges are getting a slight tweak.
The coach-summoned goal reviews, which were first introduced last year along with three-on-three overtime, became a lightning rod for controversy all season long. Goaltender interference goal reviews seemingly had no consistency and offside reviews negated big goals – sometimes just for a teammate having his skate off the ice by a centimeter as he skated into the zone. It seemed counter to the spirit of the game.
The NHL didn’t exactly fix the problem over the offseason, but they did introduce a harsher penalty for the offside review.
From now on, a failed offside challenge will result in a two-minute penalty against the club asking for the review. It’s a potentially powerful infraction. Can you imagine a team in a tight game giving up a goal it thought was offside, losing the challenge, then having to withstand an immediate power-play opportunity? It’s going to make bench bosses much more wary — and ratchet up the pressure on video coaches.
Incorrect goaltender interference reviews stay the same — the loss of your timeout. That’s probably a wise decision, since there’s much more grey area than with an offside call.
The league’s aim appears pretty straight forward. They’re trying to raise the stakes on offside reviews so that coaches focus more on reviewing goals where players are egregiously into the zone early and pass on the more marginal offside cases.
The other rule changes are more subtle. The NHL is nixing timeouts for teams guilty after icing the puck. Tired defenders will no longer be able to be saved by their coaches.
Another rule modification is so wordy, I’ll just let Friedman explain:
The final change is smaller, but also helps those with an offensive advantage. Previously, under Rule 80.4, a team on the power play that was guilty of playing the puck after a high stick saw the ensuing faceoff come deep into their own zone. Now, the team will gain territory (assuming the infraction is in the offensive end). Instead of going all the way down the ice, the faceoff will be in the neutral zone, close to the defending team’s blue line.
Finally, NHL officials will be much more strict in how they enforce face-off violations. If two players from the same team get tossed out of the dot, a minor penalty will be called.
For the record. We've had three of these already in this contest. pic.twitter.com/AqyacV0sGK
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) September 19, 2017
Headline photo: Bruce Bennett
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