The NHL Board of Governors approved several rule changes at their meeting in Las Vegas on Wednesday, including changing the structure of overtime and introducing coach’s challenges into the sport.
The overtime rules were changed to have three skaters on each side for five minutes in order to help cut back on the number of shootouts that games have been ending in. The change has been discussed for years, with the AHL model of 4-on-4 for four minutes and 3-on-3 for three minutes ultimately being discarded for the straight five minutes of 3-on-3 time.
With the new rules for overtime, it will be interesting to see how teams will approach the situation. Will they opt for two forwards and a defenseman to try to score quickly, or will they go with two defensemen and a forward to play more conservatively? A team like the Chicago Blackhawks would likely go with the former option, with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews potentially pairing up, or Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad grouping together.
For the coach’s challenge, teams will be able to initiate video reviews of goals where there is potential goaltender’s interference or offside infractions. If the coach challenges a call and gets it wrong, then the team loses their one timeout for the game. If the challenge causes the call to be reversed, then the team retains their timeout.
The NHL also made a slight tweak to their video review procedures, with the Hockey Operations department now able to initiate a video review in the final minute of regulation and during the overtime period on plays that fall under the purview of coach’s challenges.