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GM Meetings

General managers to discuss offside rule at annual meeting

Update on changes to coach's challenge this season also among topics on agenda in Toronto

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

TORONTO -- The NHL general managers will hear updates and discuss myriad topics when they convene at the League office here for their annual November meeting Tuesday.

The meeting typically helps set the agenda for the annual March meetings, which are spread across three days and have led to many rule changes in recent seasons, including the coach's challenge.

"It's to make sure everybody thinks we're in a good place and to the extent we need to clarify some things," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said of the meeting this week. 

Commissioner Bettman said a discussion on the offside rule, possibly regarding the way it is written in the rulebook and how it is being applied in video replay through a coach's challenge, will be one of the many topics the GMs will talk about.

"I know there needs to be some discussion because a couple of managers have requested it on offside," Commissioner Bettman said. 

Two years ago, the GMs decided the offside rule should be left unchanged after debating the merits of amending it to allow for a player to be considered onside as long as one of his skates has broken the vertical plane of the blue line regardless if it is in contact with the ice.

It's possible that same discussion will be had again Tuesday.

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"What is interesting is the complaints about offside saying, 'Well, it was just a tiny bit offside.' That's not video replay's fault, that's the rule, and video replay gets it right," Commissioner Bettman said. "I'm not sure there is a better way to do it, but that's what we're going to discuss."

The GMs could also hear updates on the rule modifications implemented this season, including the multiple changes to the coach's challenge rule.

In addition to challenging for offside plays that lead to a goal and scoring plays that involve potential goaltender interference, plays that result in a goal call on the ice after a potential missed stoppage in the offensive zone are eligible to be challenged in the NHL. 

All failed challenges also now result in a minor penalty for delay of game. It used to be the minor penalty for a failed offside challenge and the loss of a timeout for a failed goaltender interference challenge. 

The League's goal to have fewer challenges and a greater accuracy rate appears to be coming to fruition.

There were 40 reviews through 315 games played entering Monday, with 23 overturned and 17 upheld, a 58 percent accuracy rate. There were 59 reviews through the same number of games played last season but only 32 percent were overturned (19).

"It's working exactly how we hoped it would," Commissioner Bettman said. "And the length of game is actually down a couple of minutes too."

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