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NHL expands video review, coach's challenge for new season

Commissioner Bettman says enhancements are 'evolutionary'

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

The expanded use of video review, enhancements to player safety and further promotion of offense in the game highlight rule changes that are taking effect this season.

"We view this as evolutionary," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

The League will be using video review to give referees the ability to look back at any major or match penalty, excluding fights, in order to determine if it should be confirmed or if the penalty should be reduced to a minor. 

The referee does not have the power to rescind the penalty altogether.

The referees will also be reviewing double minor high-sticking penalties to determine if the call should stand or if it should be rescinded in the case of a teammate's stick causing the infraction instead of an opponent's stick.

"You don't want a team's season to be decided by a call where it looks bad on the ice but it turns out it was his own team or it was incidental," Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry said.

A third category has been added to the coach's challenge rule, giving coaches the power to challenge goals that occur after plays in the offensive zone that should have resulted in a stoppage were not called.

Coaches were already permitted to challenge goals scored after the puck entered the zone offside or following interference with the goaltender.

The coaches, though, will have to weigh the consequences of all challenges because if they're wrong it will result in a minor penalty for delay of game. Subsequent failed challenges will result in a double minor. There is no limit to the number of challenges.

It used to be that a minor penalty for delay of game was issued only for a failed offside challenge. Teams previously lost their timeout for a failed goalie interference challenge.

Reviews in final minute of regulation and in overtime will still be handled by the NHL Situation Room in Toronto.

Video: NHL Hockey Ops explains rule changes for 2019-20

"They've upped the ante," New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes said. "Although they've added some challenges, they've made the stakes higher, basically saying they don't want challenges."

The goalie interference challenge will still likely cause coaches the biggest headache because it's the most subjective of the calls eligible to be challenged and now the NHL has attached the risk of a penalty if wrong.

"There are going to be some hiccups, I'm sure," Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said, "but we're moving towards getting the calls right, which is what everybody wants."

The League augmented the rule on helmets for player safety purposes.

A player whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty if he doesn't either go to the bench or go retrieve his helmet and put it back on properly within a reasonable time period, which will be determined by the officials.

"They're doing their best to keep us safe as much as they can but at the same time not affecting the game," Lowry said. "I like that they left that kind of judgment up to the refs."

There were a series of adjustments in the rules to create more offense.

The face-off will stay in the offensive zone even if the attacking team is responsible for the puck going out of play. Previously, face-offs remained in the offensive zone only when the puck went out of play after being shot at the net.

Defensive teams can't make line changes if their goalie freezes the puck on a shot from outside the red line or if one of their skaters causes a stoppage by unintentionally dislodging the net. The officials will not grant a timeout or go to a television break in such instances.

The attacking team will be able to select which circle they want the face-off to take place on plays following an icing, the goalie freezing the puck on a shot from outside the red line, a defensive skater unintentionally dislodging the net and to begin a power play.

NHL.com staff writers Tim Campbell and Tom Gulitti contributed to this report

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