New rule adds pressure on NHL coaches asking for offside challenge

Ron MacLean and Tara Slone talk to Ken Reid about what to expect on season four of Hometown Hockey, naming some important stops on their journey from coast to coast.

The NHL is making a very interesting rule change for the 2017-18 season, introducing a harsher penalty for one particular video review.

From now on, a failed offside challenge will result in a two-minute penalty against the club asking for the review. It’s a potentially powerful infraction. Can you imagine a team in a tight game giving up a goal it thought was offside, losing the challenge, then having to withstand an immediate power-play opportunity? It’s going to make bench bosses much more wary — and ratchet up the pressure on video coaches.

Incorrect goaltender interference reviews stay the same — the loss of your timeout. That’s probably a wise decision, since there’s much more grey area than with an offside call.

Another adjustment that will have strategic impact. Teams are no longer able to call timeout after icing the puck. The other club can still do so if it wishes, but tired defenders won’t be able to ask for the extra rest.

Both moves should speed up the game and increase scoring/chances, which is what most of us want to see.

The final change is smaller, but also helps those with an offensive advantage. Previously, under Rule 80.4, a team on the power play that was guilty of playing the puck after a high stick saw the ensuing faceoff come deep into their own zone. Now, the team will gain territory (assuming the infraction is in the offensive end). Instead of going all the way down the ice, the faceoff will be in the neutral zone, close to the defending team’s blue line.