Think Twice, NHL Coaches: There's a New Rule to Curb Your Offsides Challenge Trigger Finger

By Rob Mixer on September 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm
John Tortorella
Aaron Doster - USA TODAY Sports
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The concept of a coach's challenge isn't a bad thing in the NHL.

What is less than desirable, however, is the grinding halt that a challenge/review can bring to a game. In most cases, we've seen the offsides challenge either a) take forever and/or b) be adjudged by the most bizarre set of rules (dragging the skate, hovering it above the blueline, etc). There's too much ambiguity, which leads to an often prolonged decision-making process.

It appears as though the NHL has taken notice. According to a new report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, NHL coaches - and to a more pressing extent, NHL video coaches - now have reason to pause and think a bit harder before deciding to proceed with an offsides challenge.

Under this new rule, an incorrect or failed offsides challenge will earn a minor penalty for the team that asked for the review. So, if you challenge a call based on offsides and you're wrong, you're also forced to kill a penalty. There are no planned changes to the goaltender interference challenge, Friedman notes, leaving that process intact.

Another wrinkle on the way: offending teams can no longer call their 30-second timeout after an icing call.

This is interesting and encouraging stuff, a sign that the NHL is taking its pace of play seriously and is willing to make adjustments that improve processes for both coaches/players and officials.

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