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NHL makes important change to offside challenge

NHL makes important change to offside challenge

A rule change for the upcoming season could (hopefully) lead to a serious reduction in the number of offside challenges from coaches.

For the 2017-18 season, a failed offside coach's challenge for will result in a two-minute penalty against the team that called the review. This was first reported by Elliotte Friedman. Previously a failed challenge would result only in the loss of a timeout. A penalty by itself is a much more severe punishment especially given that this could result in a two-goal swing.

Consider if a team challenged a goal scored against them and lost. Not only would they have given up a goal, they would then face an immediate power play.

RELATED: WHY THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT SEASON FOR JOHN CARLSON

This rule will only apply to offside challenges and not goalie interference challenges which will still result in the loss of a timeout. Since offside is a much more clear rule than the always confusing goalie interference, this distinction makes sense.

The NHL is trying to increase scoring and the pace of the game. An offside challenge does the opposite. It stops the game in its tracks and takes goals off the board. Yet, the league seems to think the rule is working. General managers decided during their meetings in March that there was no reason to change the offside challenge and Gary Bettman defended the rule right before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final which saw the very first goal from P.K. Subban overturned.

So why make this change if the challenge is apparently working so well? Perhaps another upcoming rule change had something to do with it.

Starting this season, teams will no longer be able to take a timeout after icing the puck. Unlike in football where coaches can strategically manage the clock or in basketball where timeouts are handed out like candy, timeouts are rarely used in hockey. Each team only gets one and the vast majority of timeouts are called after an icing. When a team ices the puck, it cannot change lines which can be a major advantage later in games. Coaches will use their timeouts in order to give their players a quick breather since they can't sub out.

If teams can no longer use timeouts after an icing, at that point they really only have one major purpose: challenges. Sure, coaches can still use them at any other point in a game, but realistically they would primarily be saved for challenges which would result in even more stoppages in play. Mercifully, the NHL is not going to let this happen.

MORE CAPITALS: BROOKS LAICH ISN'T READY TO HANG UP THE SKATES JUST YET

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Caps' Barry Trotz forced to change up defense lineups

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Caps' Barry Trotz forced to change up defense lineups

Lars Eller did not practice on Monday, and coach Barry Trotz shuffled his injury-depleted defense corps.

Here’s how everyone lined up:

Forwards

Burakovsky – Backstrom – Oshie

Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Vrana

Connolly – Graovac – Wilson

Smith-Pelly – Beagle – Chiasson

Walker

Defense

Orpik – Bowey

Djoos – Carlson

Orlov – Chorney

Ness

Goalies

Holtby

Grubauer

RELATED: Caps destroyed by Flyers in lopsided road loss

Some notes, quotes and observations from KCI:

  • Trotz said Eller showed up sick and was sent home to recover and avoid spreading whatever he’s got. Trotz also isn’t sure whether the veteran center will be able to suit up against Toronto on Tuesday. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t answer that right now. We’ll see where his energy level is.”

 

  • The coaching staff shuffled the D-pairs with speedy Toronto coming to town. But Trotz also cautioned not to read too much into the tandems, since they’re likely to change throughout Tuesday’s game. Trotz even hinted that a final decision on which six D-men will suit up had not yet been made. “They’re going to be shuffled from now until we get people back,” Trotz said, referring to the injured Matt Niskanen, who is week-to-week with an upper body injury. “There are pairs for practice. There are pairs for parts of games. It’ll be a little bit situational.”

 

  • If defenseman Taylor Chorney does get back into the lineup, he knows that he needs to make a positive impression after sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch. “I’ve been through this quite a bit over the last couple of years, but at the same time you probably want to make a little bit of a statement,” he acknowledged. “So for me, if I do get the opportunity to play, it would be a big game.”  

 

  • Speaking of the Leafs, they’re off to a 4-1-0 start with Auston Matthews (5 goals, including two OT winners) leading the way. Overall, Toronto is averaging a league-leading 5.2 goals per game. As you might imagine, Trotz had a lot of praise for last season’s first round opponent in general and Matthews specifically. “If he was playing 20 years ago, we’d be saying he’s Mario Lemieux-like,” Trotz said. “He’s six-foot-[three]. He skates great. He’s got unbelievable hands. And a hockey I.Q. and he’s strong on the puck.”  

 

  • As Washington attempts to turn the page from Saturday’s 8-2 clunker in Philly, Trotz said one area he’d like to see shored up is the number of shots the Caps have been allowing. Through six games, they’re yielding 34.5 shots on goal per game (tied for ninth most). Last year, they allowed 27.8 (fourth best). “We’re not as structured defensively,” Trotz said. “We haven’t put as big an emphasis this year as we did last year. We’ve put a little more emphasis on trying to replace some of the goals that we lost. But right now we have to get a little more balance. …We have to get that back into balance; we practiced some of that today.”

 

  • As you may remember, Madison Bowey’s father, Will, jumped on the first flight out of British Columbia that he could find in the hopes of catching his son’s NHL debut Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. As it turned out, though, he experienced a couple of travel delays and didn’t make it. Dad will, however, be in attendance Tuesday night.

 

MORE CAPS: Nicklas Backstrom shines among NHL's top stars

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Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom named one of NHL's 3 stars for standout week

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Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom named one of NHL's 3 stars for standout week

Nicklas Backstrom has been the Capitals’ best player so far this season, according to coach Barry Trotz. And he was recognized for his play on Monday when the NHL named him third star of the week.

No one had more points over the past week than the Caps’ star center, who racked up three goals and six assists in four games.

Trotz praised Backstrom for his point production — and his play on the other side of the puck.   

“He’s been really good,” Trotz said. “Nick has been all business. He’s playing very well. He’s been our best player, no question, with balance in his game. Nick’s balance in his game is really good—on my soap box again—and that’s what makes him one of the best two-way centermen in the National Hockey League. ”

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Last season, Backstrom didn’t get his third goal until the 16th game (en route to a 23-goal campaign). In six games this season, the 29-year-old has three goals and eight helpers.

First star of the week was Winnipeg winger Nikolaj Ehlers (five goals, two assists), while Toronto center Auston Matthews (four goals, including two OT winners) received second star honors.

On Tuesday at Capital One Arena, it’ll be second star versus third star as Matthews and the Leafs take on on Backstrom’s Caps.

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