Welcome to Clarification Please, an ongoing series in which Yardbarker will take a look at rulings that have players, coaches and fans a bit puzzled. Whether it is regarding old "unwritten rules" or a new subsection IV schedule, these are some rules in which we would like to get more clarification from the leagues.
In its freshman campaign, the NHL’s coaches challenge had plenty of critics, especially when it came to challenging that a play was potentially offsides. Now, about a season-and-a-half after NHL Rule 83.1 could be challenged, there are still some flies in the ointment. While the coaches challenge as a whole has a lot of upside, there still seems to be some mixed feelings when it comes to the offsides review.
"... the game has never been faster, never been more competitive or entertaining… The notion that we call back a goal because there’s a toe over the line – the rule is the rule." - Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner
Now, if you asked Gary Bettman about it, he would probably tell you the ruling is tops. The Commissioner told reporters during last year’s Stanley Cup Final that “the game has never been faster, never been more competitive or entertaining… The notion that we call back a goal because there’s a toe over the line – the rule is the rule. And I have no doubt if we didn’t get it right that that toe was over the line, there would be a lot of screaming about the fact that we got the call wrong.”
Yet there is still screaming, whether it is from players – see Devan Dubnyk’s candid comments from last March – or from fans watching the game at home. Mike Murphy, NHL vice-president of hockey operations, explained back in October of 2015: "The reason we instituted it was so that we could get the egregious calls particularly right, ones that everybody alive sees and says, 'This is the wrong call, it's a screw-up.'"
But at this point in 2017, the coaches challenge for a play being offsides is still a work in progress – especially when it comes to a team losing their timeout, or how much time the review process is sucking out of games.
The fragility of the challenge process heightens coaches’ concern over the possibility of the team losing their timeout. To refresh: If a coach is successful in challenging a goal, all is well. But if they aren’t, then they lose their timeout. In many circumstances this is a low-risk gamble, challenging the call is just as good as giving your team a breather. But for others it results in a negative momentum shift and the loss of a timeout.
Clarification Please: The NHL's offsides review still a work in progress
Yardbarker | Jan 26