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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.

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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.

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Penalties doom Caps in 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers

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Penalties doom Caps in 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers

Christian Djoos scored his second goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough for the turnover and penalty prone Caps, who surrendered the game’s first three goals and fell, 4-1, to the Panthers at Capital One Arena.

Two of Florida's goals came on the power play as the Caps formed a single file line to the penalty box. In fact, they were assessed six minors in the opening 33 minutes of the game—the second in two nights for both clubs.

My three stars of the game.

1-Vincent Trocheck

The 24-year-old second line center finished with a goal and an assist to help the Panthers earn just their third win in their last 14 visits to Washington. Trocheck’s second period strike—on a 5-on-3 power play with Lars Eller and Nicklas Backstrom both in the box—put Florida ahead 3-0.  

2-Christian Djoos

The rookie Dman potted his second goal of the season at 15:23 of the middle frame with the type of nice, patient move you’d expect from a veteran. He walked the puck off the wall through the circle and into the slot before sniping a shot past Reimer’s glove. Djoos—who was saluted by the fans with a ‘Djoooooooooos’—is the only Caps’ blue liner to score this season.

3-James Reimer

Although the Caps didn’t have many Grade-A opportunities, they did make Reimer put in a full day’s work. The 29-year-old stopped 41 shots, including all 13 he faced in a frantic third period as Washington pushed to pull closer. Reimer, who will assume No. 1 duties while starter Roberto Luongo recovers from a hand injury suffered Friday, came into the night with a .880 save percentage and a 4.12 goals against average. 

 Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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JJ vs. the fans: Can the Caps' defense keep it going?

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USA TODAY Sports

JJ vs. the fans: Can the Caps' defense keep it going?

It’s a busy hockey weekend for the Caps. After a 4-3 win in Detroit on Friday, Washington returns to Capital One Arena for the quick turnaround against the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).

Let’s get bold and make some predictions!

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Fan predictions:

Let’s simplify this one to say Alex Ovechkin will score at least twice. A very bold prediction even for a player already with 10 goals in just eight games.

The Capitals’ defense is a concern, but the past two games give hope that perhaps the team has turned things around. After holding Toronto to only one goal plus an empty-netter, they followed that up with a fairly solid effort allowing three goals to the Red Wings on the road in Detroit. With this game in Washington, the Caps will get the second line change, but they also will be going up against a Florida team scoring 3.33 goals per game, tied for ninth in the NHL.

Yes, Lisa. Yes it is. Love it.

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JJ’s predictions:

The Caps will score at least two power play goals

The Panthers are dead last in the league on the penalty kill with a paltry 68-percent. Penalties matter a lot in today’s NHL with referees calling penalties for…pretty much anything. The Caps will get their opportunities and they will make them count.

There will be a fight

Roberto Luongo was injured in Friday’s game, the Panthers are on the road playing the second leg of a back-to-back and have won only two of their first six games. Tempers will flare at some point Saturday. Whether it is because someone gets too close to goalie James Reimer, there’s a hit they don’t like or they are just plain grumpy, someone on Florida is going to want to drop the gloves and will find a willing partner in red.

Philipp Grubauer will log a save percentage of over .900

Grubauer established himself as one of the top backup netminders in the league and a possible budding starter with a dominant 2.04 GAA and .926 save percentage last season. In two games this season, Grubauer has posted save percentages of .900 and .784. He will look a lot more like last season’s Grubauer against Florida.

Season results:

Fans
Correct: 0
Wrong: 5
Push: 1

JJ
Correct: 2
Wrong: 4
Push: 0

Want to see your tweet among the fan predictions for the next game? Tweet your prediction to @JJReganNBCS every game day! Remember, we don’t just want to know who will win or the score, we want to see specifics. Be bold!