NHL Announces Medical Protocols, Transition Rules, and Change to Offside Rule

By Jacob Nitzberg on December 26, 2020 at 9:21 am
May 27, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference before game one of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

We're getting closer, folks.

On Tuesday, the NHL and NHLPA announced "medical protocols, transition rules for the 2020-21 season, which include information relating to critical dates, and the formal approval of a change to NHL Rule 83 (Off-side)."

The medical protocols and transition rules can be found below:

Here are the critical dates for the 2020-21 season:

Dec. 31 – Training camps open for seven Clubs that did not participate in the resumption of play for the 2019-20 season (Anaheim, Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa, San Jose)

Jan. 3 – Training camps open for the remaining 24 teams

Jan. 13 – 2020-21 regular season begins

April 12 – Trade deadline (3 p.m. ET)

May 8 – Last day of regular season

*May 11 – Stanley Cup Playoffs begin

*July 9 – Last possible day of Stanley Cup Final

July 17 – Deadline for Protection Lists for Expansion Draft (5 p.m. ET)

July 21 – Expansion Draft for Seattle Kraken (8 p.m. ET)

July 23 – Round 1 of NHL Draft

July 24 – Rounds 2-7 of NHL Draft

July 28 – Restricted Free Agent/Unrestricted Free Agent signing period begins (12 p.m. ET)

 * Subject to adjustment

Per the release, "beginning in the 2020-21 regular season, a player’s skate will not have to be in contact with the blue line in order to be on-side. The updated language for NHL Rule 83.1 follows.

83.1 Off-side – Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone.

The position of the player’s skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.

(NEW) – A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with the blue line, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line. On his own side of the line shall be defined by a “plane” of the blue line which shall extend from the leading edge of the blue line upwards. If a player’s skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck crossing the leading edge, he is deemed to be on-side for the purpose of the off-side rule."

Here is a two-minute video explaining the change: 

Exciting times. Just one week until the Blue Jackets report to training camp!

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