The NHL has reportedly approved a change to the coach’s challenge that will add immediate weight to challenging an offside.
Rather than losing the timeout you had to possess in order to challenge an offside, the team to challenge will have to kill a two-minute penalty if the challenge fails. This means teams may now challenge a play they believe is offside without having a timeout.
This suggestion of having a harsher punishment for failed offside challenges was brought forth by the GMs in the League’s general manager meeting in June. The idea behind it is to no longer hinder the speed of the game; many of these challenges in the last season would take several minutes to confirm, and it was sometimes by pixels of blue line and black puck.
Now, coaches and bench bosses will have to gauge how important the potential call is. If a coach thinks that a player’s skate blade is off the ice when he carries the puck over the blue line, and they’re just barely clutching a one-goal lead, he’ll ideally think twice before challenging the play.
While the idea behind many of the new NHL rules is to generate more goals (such as the new rule that a team can no longer use their timeout after they ice the puck, hoping to catch tired players off guard and create more offensive chances), this rule is also to deter coaches from slowing down the game by being finicky about calls. Instead of stopping the entire game to argue over pixelated pucks, play should continue as before. Either way, it’s a win-win situation – no halt in play at all, or a penalty kill to be served.