BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruce Cassidy clearly isn’t in love with the coach’s challenge at the NHL level.
It disrupts the flow of the game when it comes into play, and it has seemed to absolutely crucify the Bruins at very inopportune times since its inception at the beginning of last season. But it’s also something that the Bruins coaching staff must be on top of to gain any possible edge against the opposition, and now the pressure will be on even more heavily after rule changes give the team a minor penalty for any incorrectly challenged off-side play.
According to the NHL release, the rule “will provide for the assessment of a two-minute minor penalty for unsuccessful Coach’s Challenges to alleged Off-Side infractions leading to goals. The penalty for the unsuccessful off-side challenge replaces the loss of a team’s time-out – which had been in place since the implementation of the Coach’s Challenge in 2015. Under the revised rule, a team does not have to possess its time-out in order to issue a challenge on the particular play – nor will it forfeit its time-out in the event of an unsuccessful challenge.”
Clearly the rule has been tweaked to lessen the amount of off-side coach’s challenges seen in the league last season, and to also add more power plays, and therefore more offense theoretically, to a league that’s always looking to boost goal-scoring. The Bruins head coach liked the idea of fewer coach’s challenges, but hopes that a coaching staff will have the proper time to quickly review the video before play is resumed.
“I’m not against it. I prefer a game with flow, so to begin with the more challenges there are, the more it slows the game down and the more pressure is on me to get it right. So I’m not a fan of all these different challenges,” said Cassidy. “Hopefully now if they’re going to punish you for getting the challenge wrong, they’ll give you an appropriate amount of time so you can get an accurate read from your video guys. 99 times out of 100 it’s so close that you’re going to need information from the people you’ve designated to give you that information.
“Last year they wanted it at a certain time. They looked at you after every goal looking for a ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ This year because it’s punitive you’d hope they’d give you an extra five seconds to at least sort through it, or ten seconds … whatever it takes. Last year I think the officials said they’d try to give you 25 or 30 seconds while the other team is celebrating anyway. Maybe you want a line change. They’d tried to build all that in, but there was no hemming and hawing. As the year went on they tried to streamline things to get it going. As a coach you have to be fairly certain now because you’d hate to give up a goal on a power play. That would be a big momentum swing.”