NHL makes notable rule change that hopefully alleviates the debate


Trying to clearly decipher whether a play was offside in the NHL has become a fuzzy picture at best.

Via the NHL's official media website, goals were challenged for rule 83.1 (offside) 75 times last regular season (70 by coaches, five by teams' hockey operations personnel). The goals on such instances being challenged were overturned 56 times, while 19 were upheld.

In the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault twice challenged offside and went 1 for 2. He had a Canadiens goal overturned in Game 5 of the first round and misfired in the crazy Game 2 of the Flyers' second-round series against the Islanders.

As part of the NHL's announcement on Tuesday night of the health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 season, the league announced a change to rule 83.1, which should hopefully alleviate the cloudiness of offside.

Below is the rule update from the NHL, while the league also released a helpful and detailed video explanation right here:

Beginning in the 2020-21 regular season, a player's skate will not have to be in contact with the blue line in order to be onside. The updated language for NHL rule 83.1:

A player is onside when either of his skates are in contact with the blue line, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line. On his own side of the line shall be defined by a "plane" of the blue line which shall extend from the leading edge of the blue line upwards. If a player's skate has yet to break the "plane" prior to the puck crossing the leading edge, he is deemed to be onside for the purpose of the offside rule.


Here are the league's detailed COVID-19 testing, arena and club travel protocols for the 56-game regular season ahead, which is slated to begin Jan. 13.

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