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The NHL’s offside challenge now has a new, more punishing rule

NHL teams that fail offside challenges will now take on a minor penalty.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators - Game Six

Starting next season, NHL teams will no longer be able to call for an offside review without fear of punishment. The NHL will now give teams that fail the offside review a two-minute minor penalty, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Wednesday.

Previously, an offside challenge would only result in a loss of the team’s timeout. Now, a failed challenge will put the offending team on a penalty kill immediately after taking a goal against.

The offside challenge was implemented before the start of the 2015-16 season and has since garnered a lot of negative attention. The rule played a part in the most recent Stanley Cup Final, where a goal from P.K. Subban was disallowed in Game 1 because of an offside zone entry. The Wild also benefited from an inconclusive offside call in February after a 10 minute deliberation.

There are many reasons this rule has its detractors. The cost of previously using it was only a timeout, meaning even a close call was very low risk, high reward. The reviews for these calls often take at least five minutes, if not more, on plays that may or may not be offside by mere millimeters. Coaches also developed the habit of using the challenge late in lopsided games, despite the game already being out of their hands.

Now, coaches will have to strategize more on the use of this challenge. Is it worth putting a team on a penalty kill after looking at a play that might not go in its favor? The spirit of the offside challenge was to get rid of goals like Matt Duchene’s that are miles offside, but it was often used on calls difficult to discern with the naked eye.

The NHL also added another small rule to how teams utilize their timeouts. No longer will coaches be able to call timeouts after icings. Opposing teams will still be able to, but teams that ice the puck will not be able to rest their defenders.

Both rules should help the flow of the game, but time will tell if these new changes will do what the NHL hopes they will.