Detroit Red Wings: Coach’s Challenge Pros and Cons


Among the new rule changes coming for the 2015-2016 NHL season, the coach’s challenge should improve the accuracy of calls and ensure an even more level playing field.

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Taking a page out of the NFL rule book, the NHL will enable coaches to challenge certain calls on the ice limited to “goalie interference” and “offsides” calls that result in a “goal” or “no goal” decision. Similar to the NFL, coaches will need to have their timeout still available in order to initiate the challenge. Also the last minute of the third period and any overtime will have these plays automatically reviewed by the Toronto Video Room. Hopefully the days of wrong calls being made, as the replay on the jumbo-tron clearly shows the truth, are over. For more detailed information on the all the new rule changes,

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A much needed addition to the game

It does not happen very often, but referees, like all of us, make mistakes. It is a wonder that it does not happen more often considering how fast of a game hockey is. All things aside, there were a handful of calls against the Detroit Red Wings last season where the new coach’s challenge would have made a big difference. I’m not pointing these out to complain about the calls, but to show how the new coach’s challenge can make a positive impact on future games.

Example 1: Braden Holtby trips himself and Luke Glendening gets called for interference. This is a perfect example of a disallowed goal because of goalie interference that would have been easily overturned by a coach’s challenge. On the play Holtby passes the puck from behind the net and trips on his own trying to get back into position. Taking advantage of Holtby’s misfortune, Drew Miller fired the puck into the back of the net.

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As soon as it happened, the referees were waving off the goal and sending an innocent Glendening to the penalty box. Instead of scoring a goal the Red Wings found themselves on a very important penalty kill. Luckily the Red Wings went on to win the game 4-2. I bet this is one play used as an example to show why the NHL needed to embrace the coach’s challenge.

Example 2: Zetterberg’s OT Goal is disallowed against the Sabres. Now this is not necessarily a bad call but it is definitely a tough call. When the goal is scored, Franzen is in the goal crease and the referees claim he prevented Buffalo goaltender Michal Neuvirth from making the save. This example really shows how close these goalie interference calls can be. It also shows how the new system will work with the play in question having been automatically reviewed by the Toronto Video Room. The decision was made in a short time and showed great promise.

In the near future I imagine that they will add more situations where you can apply the coach’s challenge.

Example 3: Puck bounces off high mesh and off Jonathan Quick’s back and into the net. I did say there were going to be some cons. In this example Kronwall takes a shot that is deflected high into the air and falls back down and banks off of Quick’s back and into the net. Not many people saw it in real time but the replay clearly shows that the puck did touch the mesh and that the goal should not count. The referees ended up counting the goal because they did not see it and the play was not a reviewable one. The reason this example is a con is because it will still not be reviewable with a coach’s challenge in the 2015-2016 season.

Like all new rules, there are bound to be some tweaks to the coach’s challenge.  In the near future I imagine that they will add more situations where you can apply the coach’s challenge. Even though it is not perfect, the coach’s challenge is a step in the right direction to fix blatant miscalls that are bound to happen throughout the season.

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