07/21/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
When the puck drops on the 2015 NHL season this fall, fans are going to notice some changes. The biggest change will be to overtime, which will now be 3 on 3 instead of 4 on 4. We'll get more into that in just a little bit.
The other change is the addition of the coach's challenge along with expanded video review. Let's start there. The first word that comes to mind in regards to the coach's challenge is finally. After watching the debacle that NHL on ice officiating was in the 2015 playoffs, the challenge and expanded video review are definite steps in the right direction. With the coach's challenge, a team will be able to challenge certain situations.
Here's how it works. First, the challenging team must have a timeout to use. If a coach challenges a pla and is successful, the team will keep their timeout. If the challenge is lost, so is the team's timeout. Challenges can be used in the following situations: If a goal is credited on the ice, but should've been disallowed because the scoring team was either offside or there was interference with the goaltender. It can also be used to challenge a disallowed goal on the grounds of goaltender interference. The disallowed goal call will be overturned if there was no actual contact between the attacking player and the goalie. If the attacking player called for contact with the goalie was pushed into the keeper by a defending player. Or if the attacking players presence in the goal crease didn't actually impede the goalie's ability to stop the puck.
And the expanded video review will also include that during the final minute of regulation play and during the overtime period, any review that would've initiated through the coach's challenge will be initiated by the NHL's Situation Room in Toronto.
It's a start for sure. It's a step in the right direction. Too many times last season goals were disallowed for "incidental contact with the goaltender that prevented him from playing his position". I'm still not exactly sure what that wording means, but I know it resulted in too many goals being disallowed without there being actual goaltender interference. While this issue will be addressed, as will any blown offside calls, coaches still can't challenge penalty calls. Of course if coaches were able to challenge penalties that should've been called on the ice but weren't, NHL games would go from lasting 2.5 hours to about 2.5 days. But coaches should be able to challenge if a major penalty was missed and/or called a minor penalty instead. Not only would it eliminate blown calls on major penalties, it would increase player safety because players would know they wouldn't be able to get away with any major penalties. And of course, it's usually major penalties that lead to injuries.
Now to the 3 on 3 overtime. I hate it. A lot. It's been instituted to decrease the number of games that go to a shootout. This makes no sense to me though. The NHL wants more games to be decided in a game situation, but when does 3 on 3 equal a game situation? 4 on 4 overtime was bad enough, but this is awful. This doesn't do anything in regards to having a game decided in a game situation. If overtime when it really counts in the playoffs is 5 on 5, why is OT being decided with less players in the regular season?
The NHL's point system has been out of whack since it went to the 4 on 4 overtime to eliminate ties. You want to fix overtime? Here's how it should be done. No points are awarded if the game is tied after regulation. Teams play a 5 on 5 overtime period that's 5 minutes long. If the game is still tied, each team is awarded 1 point each. Then the OT can go straight to the shootout to determine which team gets the extra point. If the league doesn't want games decided by a shootout, get rid of it and bring ties back. I'd rather see a tie than see my team lose a point in a video game style overtime period. And honestly, even though it's not as popular as it was when it was implemented ten years ago, fans still enjoy the shootout.
Hockey is such a great sport to watch. Well at least when the NHL doesn't try to ruin it by not calling penalties on the ice that should be called, watching it's scoring consistently decline while it's star players are being impeded and prevented from being stars, allowing players to wear equipment that is more resembling of a suit of armor, keeping a dead team in Arizona, well I could keep going and going. By why beat a dead Bettman, I mean horse? So I'll stop here.
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