Today the NHL has decided to implement a rule to decrease the amount of offside challenges. Normally I would just throw news like this in the Hot-Links and call it a day but this is something I’m quite passionate about. When the NHL does something right, it makes me happy and I enjoy writing optimistic articles.
The new rule will now give the challenging team a 2-minute minor penalty for challenging an offside and being wrong. This is important because the challenge rule hasn’t been used the way the League has intended since implementation. The challenge was supposed to be to stop things like this:
I think we can all agree that that isn’t how we’ve seen challenges go. What typically happens now is the challenge is used every single time that there is a microscopic chance to be overturned given that is comes at a time where a time-out may have been called anyway. It creates an extended time-out, slows everything down and makes it so that I can’t even cheer for a goal in real time because I have to wait for a challenge to happen. Be honest, when you see a goal happen do you immediately cheer and high-five your friends? Or do you do an immediate jump and quickly keep watching to see if there’s an off-side challenge for 90 seconds of play ago?
The worst part about these challenges is: The less likely the effect of the offside, the longer the review is going to take. When a player comes in a mile offside it gives a clear advantage to the attacking team if it goes uncalled. It would take about 2 seconds of review to overturn this and everyone is happy. However, when you need to freeze-frame, get out the magnifying glass and need 6 people in Toronto to make the call for you, the reality is that the offside in question had very little effect on the play. We all remember the Anaheim/Edmonton game where the Oilers had already used their timeout on goaltender interference — an issue for another day — and couldn’t challenge the offside. Here’s the thing, we felt bad because the Ducks broke the rules (shocking) and the non-challenge went against us. But, did anyone truly believe that Corey Perry lifting his right foot 0.2 seconds early actually had any effect on that goal being scored? It did not.
The second part of this wonderful rule is that not only does it cut down on review time, but it also cuts down on ref stupidity. This is one thing that bothers me every time I watch a game: The refs refuse to do anything about cheating in faceoffs and let the fans suffer.
There is a rule that requires a penalty be called when a player is waived out of the draw and his replacement also cheats in the circle. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I have actually seen that called. Refs would rather kick a player out from each side, drop the puck, blow the whistle and call it a false start, kick each player out again a few times before even putting consideration into enforcing that rule.
It’s not like the coaches and players aren’t in on it, they’ve adapted just fine. When there is a critical draw, you’ll never hear one player tell another not to get kicked out. Instead, the coach will send out two centermen. Everyone on the ice knows that that rule will never be enforced and no one seems to mind an extra five minutes in non-play. Both cheat and the circus continues.
That is a five minute video of the Oilers clinching the playoffs. There is one minute of play in there and 4 minutes of faceoff garbage. I’d like to say that I only noticed because it was a critical and entertaining minute and that it doesn’t happen that often, but that would be a lie. This kind of garbage happens multiple times per game and really takes away from the fan experience. If this new rule stops issues like that from happening, even a little bit, I am all for it.
Long story short, this is a good rule, I’m happy, Refs are idiots. We now just need the NHL to decide what goaltender interference means or let players grab goalie pads. Either or.