With the 2017-2018 NHL season upon us in less than a week, here are a couple things to look out for in the new season.
Several new rules have been put in place this season, and three of those rules are potentially going to have a huge impact on the game.
I think that the three biggest rule changes are offside challenges, no time-outs after icing and a renewed focus on the already existing face-off rule.
The facts: The 2015-2016 NHL season saw the implementation of the coaches’ challenge where a coach could challenge a goal if he thought that the play was offsides or if there was goalie interference. If the coach was wrong, they lost a timeout and future challenge opportunities.
The new offsides challenge rule would cause the team with the failed offsides challenge to have a minor penalty.
My thoughts: I don’t mind this change. I think it will keep the game quick because coaches will be less likely to challenge unless they know for sure that the play was offsides.
On Dec. 5, 2015, Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets scored an OT goal that was promptly challenged by Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz. The review took over seven minutes and the call on the ice still stood.
Granted, even with the failed challenge, the game was already over so no penalty would have been assessed, but you can see just how long these challenges can take.
The new rule does not apply to goalie interference, which I like. I think goalie safety is important and that allowing the coaches to challenge close calls with interference without assessing a minor penalty will keep goalies safer.
No Time-Outs After Icing
The facts: This new rule will make it so that the team that ices the puck cannot take a time-out immediately after icing. They must return to their own zone and face-off with no added rest.
My thoughts: Again, I don’t mind this rule. The point of icing the puck is to give your team a reprieve when facing increased pressure in your zone, so teams should not be allowed to extend that rest via time-out. It means less of an advantage for the team that iced the puck.
The facts: The official NHL rulebook states that “the players taking part shall take their position so that they will stand squarely facing their opponents end of the rink, and clear of the ice markings (where applicable).” This is the already existing rule for face-offs.
The adjustment being made this year is that if the center lines up incorrectly and the replacement player does as well, a minor penalty will be assessed to the offending team.
My thoughts: I feel like I am not alone in my distaste for this rule. Having to go through the process of assessing a penalty will slow down the game. I think it will ultimately just lead to a lot of frustration.
“This face-off rule is an absolute joke,”
says winger Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins. Many fans have expressed their dissatisfaction with the new rule as well.
However, it may not even last past pre-season, so we will have to wait and see.