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GM Meetings

NHL general managers to discuss offside rule during Day 2 of meetings

Conversations on coach's challenge for goaltender interference will continue

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The rule for offside, especially as it relates to the coach's challenge, is expected to be a topic of discussion among NHL general managers during their breakout group sessions on Day 2 of their annual March meetings at the Boca Beach Club on Tuesday.

The GMs, who spent their entire session on Day 1 Monday discussing the coach's challenge for goaltender interference, will break off into separate groups to discuss various aspects of the game, likely including a debate on if the wording of the rule for offside should change to allow for a player to be deemed onside even if his trailing skate is in the air while his front skate is in contact with the ice but over the leading edge of the blue line.

Video: Goalie interference is a hot topic at the GM Meetings

The offside rule (83.1) dictates that a player is offside when both of his skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line, and he is onside when either of his skates are in contact with the ice on the blue line or on his own side of the blue line when the puck completely crosses the blue line.

The skate-off-the-ice offside typically shows up in video review issued through the coach's challenge. 

The managers, however, discussed and debated the merits of changing the wording of the rule last season, but determined no change was necessary because the offside rule was working as intended.

The number of coach's challenges for offside is also down this season, the first since the NHL has started giving a two-minute minor penalty to the challenging team in instances where the official did not change his call after the video review process.

According to the League, there were 68 coach's challenges for offside through the first 1,100 games this season, down from 118 through 1,100 games last season. Of the 68 challenges this season, 30 times the call on the ice has been confirmed and 38 times it has been overturned.

"I was against the two-minute penalty," NHL senior executive vice president for hockey operations Colin Campbell said. "I'm not big on penalties, I think you have to earn your penalties and I think attaching a penalty on the offside challenge was pretty extreme, but it's worked. It's worked and it's gotten rid of the frivolous nature of some of the calls on offside. 

"There are still a few things to challenge the GMs with on the offside -- foot in the air is one we'll discuss again."

The managers are also expected to discuss player safety and fights that occur after legal hits in their breakout sessions Tuesday. 

In addition, the GMs are expected to continue their discussion on the coach's challenge for goaltender interference. They are hopeful of having a plan or a recommendation for clarification or a change in the review process before the meetings break Wednesday.

"The hope is by Wednesday we can tell you some direction we're going to take on this process and what will change," Campbell said.

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