It was not a great season for officiating, as a small boatload of missed calls hindered enjoyment of many a game. Luckily, the NHL aims to do something about that this coming season.
The league is expanding the video review process and has announced rule changes for the coach’s challenge.
The NHL’s general managers approved the changes at their Thursday meeting in Vancouver, gaining approval from the Board of Governors Wednesday in Las Vegas. The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association Competition Committee approved the changes back on June 11.
First, there are changes to the coach’s challenge.
Under the old rules, coaches could challenge calls for goalie interference and offside. Under the new rules, a third category will be added for missed stoppages in play in the offensive zone that lead to goals. That means pucks that go off the netting, high-sticking infractions, hand passes, and so forth.
“We’re not talking about discretionary calls, we’re not talking about missed penalties,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “It’s really just black-and-white calls that video can conclusively determine that there was a missed stoppage and it resulted in a goal.”
Also, the challenges won’t be limited by the availability of a timeout. In other words, coach’s challenges are now unlimited. Missed coach’s challenges will still be dinged a minor penalty for delay of game, however, so as to eliminate insincere and excessive use of the program. After the first infraction, subsequent missed coach’s challenges will result in a double minor penalty.
There is still no mechanism in place for the league to allow coaches to challenge on missed penalties, however, but it is possible for video enhancements to assist in that in the near future. Right now, the argument against those types of challenges are that they could disrupt the flow of the game.
Major and match penalties are now reviewable by the referee making the call. The official can subsequently confirm the call or reduce it to a minor penalty using information acquired by reviewing the penalty at the scorer’s table. There are also some adjustments made to double-minor high-sticking calls, with referees now able to review those calls. Sometimes officials had penalized the wrong player or tagged a player with a penalty despite the offending stick being more of a “friendly fire” situation.
“The primary intention there obviously is the friendly fire-type offences where perhaps a player’s own stick or his teammate’s stick causes the injury to the head,” Daly said.
(Lead photo credit: CBS)