The NHL’s Board of Governors officially approved the rule change to asses a minor penalty to any team who challenges an offside unsuccessfully. The coach will no longer require his timeout to make the challenge, but risks putting his team down a man for two minutes should he be incorrect. The offside challenge still must occur only after a goal has been scored.
While this will certainly reduce the number of challenges this season—something that fans and coaches alike can get behind—there were countless instances last year where it wasn’t obviously clear whether the player was onside or not. Those close calls will be tough to challenge as a coach, as you could both allow a goal and put your team at a disadvantage directly afterwards. Hopefully this will make only the most egregious mistakes stop the game for the referees to confirm or overturn the call.
One may worry though, that since linesmen seemed to blow fewer plays dead last year for offside knowing that they could always go back and check, it could result in goals that shouldn’t have been allowed under normal circumstances but are still too close to risk challenging. Remember, if it is blown offside but in fact shouldn’t have been, there is no way to challenge anyway.
Other than the minutia of whether or not a play is blown dead, this likely will accomplish the goal for the league of reducing the amount of lengthy delays during an NHL game. Several times last year reviews took close to ten minutes, completely changing the flow of the game and allowing viewers at home to click off to other programming. As baseball has instituted recently with the manager’s clock, review mechanics only work if they’re done in a timely fashion; otherwise, the benefit of “getting the call right” is far outweighed by the frustration of waiting for a decision to be made.