NHL

Detailing How NHL Coaching Challenges Would Work

Head coaches like Joel Quenneville should be able to initate challenges to an official's call.
Head coaches like Joel Quenneville should be able to initate challenges to an official's call.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2013

Instant replay works in professional sports.

The league that struggles the most with instant replay video review is the NFL, the league that started it all.

However, it is used wisely and efficiently in the NHL, the NBA and Major League Baseball.

It is time to expand its use in the NHL.

The NHL reviews every goal that is scored by its team of video officials in the league's Toronto office. If the puck goes into the net cleanly and legally, the goal is counted on the scoreboard and play resumes. If not, the goal is washed out.

The pace of NHL hockey is so fast and some of the calls officials make are quite subtle. Giving a head coach to challenge an official's call would not hurt the game.

Give each coach one challenge per game. The coach could challenge a penalty call, a non-penalty call or an an offsides call.

Goals would not have to be challenged because they are already reviewed.

If a coach believes that an incorrect call was made—or not made—he could challenge the call at the next whistle. 

If the video officials in Toronto concur with the challenge, the call would be corrected or implemented. The coach would also get a second challenge to use at a later point in the game.

Two challenges would be the maximum, even if the coach wins both of them.

Coaches would be able to challenge a call made during the first 58 minutes of regulation time.

With two minutes to go, the video officials in Toronto would initiate all video reviews. That would including all action that takes place in overtime—both in the regular season and the playoffs.

Coaches who used video review in obvious cases where it had no chance for success would suffer for that action. Their teams would be called for delay of game and they would be shorthanded for two minutes.

A coach who has already used a timeout in the game might be inclined to launch a challenge to get his team another break in the action. A baseless challenge would result in the delay of game penalty just described and the coach would be fined for the action as well.

The game would improve with a challenge system. If this system was in place this season, Nashville head coach Barry Trotz would have been able to challenge the offsides goal Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche scored against the Predators Feb. 18.

Duchene was at least 10 feet offsides in receiving a pass before putting the puck past Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

While that was an exceptional miss by the linesmen, more subtle mistakes would be allowed to be challenged.

Giving one (or two) challenges per game to each head coach would not cause an enormous slow down in the game.

It would make the game more legitimate and help ensure that the right calls are ultimately made.

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