goal review

NHL GMs propose small change to offside rule that could save big headaches

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The NHL’s GMs reportedly proposed a subtle but potentially headache-preventing change to the offside rule during recent meetings.

The amended rule would parallel “breaking the plane” in football.

NHL Network’s EJ Hradek summarizes the minor-yet-potentially-helpful tweek pretty well:

Note that this proposal needs to go through a few layers before the change is complete. It needs to be approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors and Competition Committee for this tweak to happen.

“When we met with our breakout group [Monday], the group thought that it was tough watching a game, especially with our skilled players, when we see a nice goal being scored and there’s a delay and there’s a challenge and we’re taking down good hockey goals because the guy’s toe is slightly off the ice or he’s in a crossing over motion where the majority of his body is still in the neutral zone but his skate is not touching the ice,” NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Kris King said via NHL.com. “They felt a lot of times the guy that is offside isn’t even involved in the rush. They just felt the skate in the air really didn’t have a lot of bearing on any of these goals.”

NHL.com’s Dan Rosen shared some interesting numbers:

The NHL reported that 18 coach’s challenges through 1,015 games played this season have been for skate in the air plays, and of those 14 led to goals being removed. There were 26 skate in the air challenges through 1,015 games last season leading to 16 goals removed.

Chances are, there will still be plenty of instances of eye-roll-worthy reviews, as offside vs. onside could still be up to plenty of debate. Even so, any tweak that might not force officials and telecasts to study small differences with Zapruder-film rewinds would be good for our collective mental health.

Er, although, fans griping about how goals A-Z should have counted (and so on) might destroy any would-be regained mental health so … *sigh* what can you do?

NHL GMs discussed a tweak like this in late March 2017, but it didn’t get off the ground/break the plane.

That point is a reminder that, much like offside reviews, these processes can often feel a little marginal. Giving a little more leeway for players to avoid going offside feels like it would be more in the “spirit of the rule,” but baby steps are better than no steps at all.

We’ll see if this small change to the offside rule makes it to fruition, and that the NHL continues to find ways to simplify its rules.

Some controversies over the years, whether this will address them all, or not:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins’ goal overturned by review in Game 6

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However you feel about each call, plenty of hockey fans feel confused about what counts as goalie interference, and what’s closer to incidental contact.

During the first period of Game 6 between the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets, it seemed like Sean Kuraly gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead, but Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella successfully challenged the call. After a lengthy challenge review, it was determined that Joakim Nordstrom “impaired” Sergei Bobrovsky‘s “ability to play his position in the crease.”

You can judge the call for yourself in the video above this post’s headline.

 [NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Whether you agree or disagree with the call, the bottom line is that Game 6 went back to 0-0, which remains the score as of this writing. The game is airing on NBCSN (Stream here).

Here’s the full explanation release from the NHL:

Bruins fans may be grumbling a bit extra, as there was a noteworthy goal that went against them. It seemed like Zach Hyman bumped Tuukka Rask before Auston Matthews‘ goal counted in Game 5 of that Round 1 series, but the review went Toronto’s way.

See at around the three-minute mark of the highlights:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The NHL’s new coach’s challenge and timeouts

AP
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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?