Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the NHL will be making a few adjustments to rules regarding offside challenges, icing, and power play puck drops.
The league will now attempt to make offside coach’s challenges more meaningful by handing the challenging team a 2-minute penalty if they lose an offside review. This was one of the NHL’s most controversial aspects last year in both the regular season and playoffs, with many feeling that the pace and spirit of the game were being tarnished by dubious offside calls that had often taken place 20-30 seconds earlier.
Now, if a head coach wants to challenge a goal for a potential offside violation, they need be sure that they have obvious and indisputable evidence or risk their team going down a man for two minutes.
In addition, the league will no longer allow a team who has just iced the puck to take a timeout. Previously, a coach could burn a team’s timeout after an icing call in order to get his players some needed rest. The opposing team can still call a timeout with this change, however.
Finally, a change to the rules governing a high-stick on the powerplay. Currently, Rule 80.4 dictates that a team on the power play that played a puck after a high stick in the offensive zone would have the play called dead and the faceoff occur all the way back in the offending team’s zone. With the new rule change, however, this same scenario will now lead to a neutral zone faceoff closest to the defending team’s side. The faceoff position will be similar to that of an offside entry on the attacking team, thus putting the team on the power play closer to their opponent’s net.
These rule changes were designed to give teams more advantages and chances to score in the NHL’s quest to increase scoring throughout the league, something they have made a priority over the last several years.