For better or worse, NFL coaches often get critiqued for the way they challenge plays, with a big reason being that they may waste potentially precious timeouts.
NHL coaches only have one to work with per game, and with the new challenge system in mind, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks points out how that is changing a subtle-if-important coaching strategy.
How many bench bosses will take a time out earlier in a game, knowing that doing so will mean they lose their challenge option? Specifically, this comes into question when a coach would otherwise rest winded players on an icing call.
“You’d have to have five guys out there for such an extended period of time to call one, and even then, it would be an extremely difficult call,” Alain Vigneault told Brooks. “If you know that they have nothing in the tank, then you might have no other choice. … But I don’t know. … You don’t want to lose that [ability to] challenge.”
There’s already an example or two of coaches being thrifty with their single timeout per contest.
Brooks poses a fairly simple and logical tweak, then:
The league could — and I would suggest probably should — amend the rule so each team is given one challenge opportunity plus one timeout. Yes this likely would add another 1:30 or so to the game, but chances are icings will be followed by delaying tactics that only will frustrate everyone.
What do you think? Should the NHL stick with the current setup or adjust it based on Brooks’ suggestion?