Chicago Blackhawks, Hockey 101: Coach’s Challenge

By Sean Fitzgerald

The NHL has approved several new rules for this upcoming season. In the first edition of Hockey 101, we covered the new 3-on-3 overtime rules. In this installment, we will cover the coach’s challenge, a rule that will give NHL coaches the ability to challenge certain plays.

The rule can only be applied to certain scenarios:

(a) Offside play leading to a goal. A play that results in a goal call on the ice in which the defending team asserts that the play should have been stopped by way of an offside infraction against the attacking team.

(b) Scoring plays involving potential interference on the goalkeeper. This one is pretty self-explanatory and revolves around netminders being able to play their position when a shot on net turns into a goal against.

The coach’s challenge rule goes into a great detail to define each scenario. The extensions of the rule indicate on what grounds a scoring play can be challenged and overturned, resulting in new no-goal call. Likewise, if a scoring play was ruled no goal because of goaltender interference, the challenge can be applied to determine if there was actually goaltender interference. If their was no sign of such interference, then the call would be overturned and it would be ruled a good goal.

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The first part of the rule would have hurt and helped the Chicago Blackhawks during last year’s playoffs. Section (a) would have hurt the Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Nashville. Patrick Kane scored a goal after it appeared he entered the zone offsides against the Predators. If the goal was reviewed by a coach’s challenge, it could have been overturned. From my vantage point, there was no doubt about it: Kane was offsides.

Section (b) of the rule would have helped the Blackhawks against the Anaheim Ducks as Patrick Maroon may have interfered with Corey Crawford on a Ducks goal in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. That play could have been overturned by the section (b) of the rule.

There are other stipulations to the coach’s challenge. The challenge can only be used if a team has its timeout available, and it must be initiated before play resumes following a goal or no-goal call. If the challenging team is unsuccessful in its challenge, it will forfeit its timeout. On the flip side, if the challenging coach does win his challenge, his team will retain its timeout.

Finally the NHL has joined the NFL and MLB on giving coaches the ability to challenge calls. The rule, however, does not state how many challenges a team is allowed per game. My best guess would be that a team is allowed two challenges per game. I expect that teams will have to feel out the challenge process because the loss of a timeout could be killer down the stretch in games.

Is it October yet?

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