NHL.com’s Dan Rosen spoke to several coaches after the NHL Coaches’ Association met in Vancouver today, and Rosen discussed the expanded criteria by which a coach’s challenge may be levied during the 2019-2020 season.
According to Rosen, the fact that a minor penalty can be assessed for any incorrect challenge minimizes the likelihood of a, “Hell, let’s challenge it and see what happens” call from the bench–the kind of call that Wings coach Jeff Blashill has often made in the past:
The added punitive measure of making a failed challenge result in a two-minute minor for delay of game and all subsequent failed challenges in the same game result in a double-minor has coaches thinking about how often they’re going to use a challenge.
There previously had been a minor penalty associated with a failed offside challenge, but going forward it will be equal across the board in all three challenge categories.
“The consequence has gone up if you’re challenging and you’re not right,” New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes said. “Although the rule is it has to be clear-cut, sometimes the definition of clear-cut are also different. But it’s something that you have to find a way to be good at it and make the right decisions any time you have to challenge something with a consequence.”
It will be an increasingly difficult decision considering that power-play percentages have risen recently. The NHL average has been above 19 percent in each of the past three seasons after 22 straight seasons of it being 18 percent or lower.
“There’s no question that will create less challenges,” Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “The definition of 100 percent right is probably different between every coach, but our job as coaches now is to learn what the standard of 100 percent right is. I just think you’re going to end up with less challenges.”