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NHL Approves Penalizing Unsuccessful Off-Side Challenges

Board passes decision today, along with two other rule changes

Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The NHL instituted three rule changes today, with the Board of Governors approving these -

1 - Minor Penalty for Failed Offside Challenge

The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors today approved a change to the Coach’s Challenge Rule (Rule 78.7), which will provide for the assessment of a two-minute minor penalty for unsuccessful Coach’s Challenges to alleged Off-Side infractions leading to goals.

The penalty for the unsuccessful off-side challenge replaces the loss of a team’s time-out – which had been in place since the implementation of the Coach’s Challenge in 2015. Under the revised rule, a team does not have to possess its time-out in order to issue a challenge on the particular play – nor will it forfeit its time-out in the event of an unsuccessful challenge.

Rule 78.7(b) now will read:

b) If the result of the challenge is that the play was on-side, the goal shall count and the team that issues the challenge shall be assessed a minor penalty for delaying the game.

From Scouting The Refs -

Coaches challenged goals for offside situations 117 times last season, with 39 overturned. Coaches could challenge a pivotal goal with only their timeout at stake. In many cases, it was a no-risk situation. Best case: the goal was overturned. Worst case: The team was given a chance to regroup, with the review delay taking far longer than a thirty-second timeout.

This ruling should help prevent gratuitous coach’s challenges being made against goals that were otherwise legal, slowing down the game, with the only risk previously being a lost timeout.

Two other rules changes were put in place today as well -

2 - No Timeouts After Icings

The rule has been modified to prevent a club from taking an extended break after icing the puck.

Rule 87.1 now says:

No time-out shall be granted to the defensive team following an icing

This is an interesting change being made to increase scoring in the game, with gassed teams icing the puck now unable to take a breather.

3 - Faceoff Location After Puck Played With High Stick

Rule 80, which covers high-sticking the puck, has been updated. Section 80.4 has been removed entirely.

Per the old rules, if a team on the power play used a high stick to play the puck, deflect the puck out of play, or tip the puck into the net, after the whistle the faceoff would be in the offending team’s defensive zone.

From now on, the faceoff will always be in the neutral zone, at the location nearest to where the puck was played with a high stick.