Your guide to the NHL’s new rules

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The NHL has some new rules for this season

As usual, the league passed some rule changes over the summer. And it seems like some of them might backfire. Here are the biggest differences you’ll notice when the puck drops in less than two weeks:

New rule: Video review will be used on every major penalty (except for fighting).

The details: After making the call, referees will be required to watch replays on those little tablet devices to decide whether to stick with the five-minute major or reduce it to a two-minute minor. They’re not allowed to erase the penalty altogether. Refs will also have the option to review their four-minute double-minor calls for high sticking. They can either confirm it or rescind it. They can’t reduce it to two minutes. And no penalty can be increased from the initial call.

Why you might like this: It should help erase the kind of atrocious decision we saw in Game 7 of the Vegas-San Jose playoff series. A referee reacted to a scary fall by San Jose’s Joe Pavelski by calling a major on a Vegas player, but replays showed Pavelski really just lost his balance after a light cross-check. It was maybe worth a two-minute penalty. But San Jose scored four times on the ensuing five-minute power play to erase a 3-0 deficit and eventually won the series in overtime. In fact, the new rule seems like an obvious knee-jerk reaction to this exact play.

Why you might hate this: Video reviews are really boring, and these ones could take awhile. Parsing penalties seems more complicated than deciding whether, say, a puck crossed the goal-line or a player was offside — and those reviews aren’t exactly done in a timely fashion. Also, video review can’t be used to add a penalty. So fans will still be whining about that obvious penalty against their team that the refs missed.

New rule: Coaches can now challenge more stuff

The details: They were already allowed to ask officials to look for goalie interference or offside on plays that result in a goal. Now they can demand a replay if they think a play should have been whistled dead before a goal for the puck going into the netting or a high-sticked puck or hand pass in the offensive zone. Coaches can now challenge as many plays as they want, but it gets riskier after they get one wrong. The penalty for the first unsuccessful challenge is two minutes. It’s four minutes for each one after that.

Why you might like this: There’s now less chance your favourite team will get wronged like the Blues did in the playoffs when the Sharks beat them in OT after an obvious hand pass. It’ll also be interesting to see which coaches are bold enough to challenge when a possible four-minute penalty is dangling over them.

Why you might hate this: Again, video reviews are boring. And coaches now have more opportunities to ask for them.

New rule: There are more situations where teams aren’t allowed to change lines

The details: Players were already not allowed to leave the ice after their team was called for icing. Now, there are also no line changes for a team whose goalie freezes the puck after a shot from beyond the red-line, or if one of its skaters unintentionally knocks his own net off.

Why you might like this: It disincentivizes players from taking the easy way out of difficult situations by getting a stoppage in play. As for tired players being forced to stay on the ice: Fatigue leads to mistakes. Mistakes lead to goals. Goals lead to fun.

Why you might hate this: You’re concerned about the effects of lactic acid.

New rule: Teams can pick where they want certain faceoffs to happen

The details: For all those same scenarios where the no-line-change rule is applied, the offensive team on that play gets to choose the location of the ensuing faceoff in the other team’s zone. Same for the first draw to start a power play. Obviously it still has to take place on one of the two dots in that zone.

Why you might like this: You like goals and are in favour of things that make them a little easier to score.

Why you might hate this: You don’t like goals.

If you want more details on these rule changes and the other (more minor) ones, you can read this or watch this video from the league.


An overreaction to Joe Pavelski’s (admittedly awful-looking) injury in the playoffs led to another rule change. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

Quickly…

Auston Matthews got ruthless. Career minor leaguer Scott Sabourin is trying to crack the Senators’ roster, so he was going pretty hard in last night’s exhibition game. But he got a cruel reminder of his place in the hockey world when he got in Matthews’ face. The Leafs superstar poked his head around to the back of Sabourin’s jersey — as if to say “Who are you again?” Stone cold.


A Canadian wrestler pulled off a shocking comeback to win gold at the world championships. Linda Morais trailed 6-1 in the women’s 59-kg final. But she stunned her Russian opponent by pinning her for the win. Morais is the 12th Canadian woman to win a wrestling world title. Any top-six finish at the worlds clinches an Olympic spot in that weight class for the wrestler’s country. Unfortunately for Morais, there’s no 59-kg division in the Olympics. The closest are 57 and 62. She’s competed at 62 before. Read more about Morais’ win and watch her pin here.

The Senators locked up their best player for a long time. Ottawa agreed to an eight-year, $ 64-million US extension with Thomas Chabot that kicks in for the 2020-21 season. The 22-year-old had 55 points in 70 games last season, which gave him the 10th-highest points-per-game rate in the league for defencemen. He was the Sens’ third-leading scorer behind Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, who were both traded in February. Read more about Chabot and his new deal here.

Meanwhile, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been accused of not paying debts. A casino in Connecticut is suing him for about $ 900,000, saying he tried to pay them that amount with several bank drafts that bounced. An aviation company claims it was owed almost $ 700K for operating, maintaining and storing a private jet that belongs to a company Melnyk owns. The aviation company looked into selling the plane in order to recoup its money, but Melnyk’s company took them to court to get it back. Melnyk’s company says the alleged amount owing is “inflated and incorrect.” It’s also important to note none of the allegations involving the plane or the casino have been proven in court. Read more about both cases here.

Kaillie Humphries isn’t interested in patching things up with the Canadian bobsleigh team. Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton claimed it would welcome Humphries back after a judge refused to order the organization to release her so she can compete for the U.S. This happened after Humphries filed a lawsuit alleging that Canadian head coach Todd Hays verbally abused her and treated her unfairly. An investigation launched by BCS concluded there was no harassment by Hays, but Humphries echoed yesterday what she said in her lawsuit: that she feels like the team doesn’t actually want her and she doesn’t feel safe “psychologically and physically” as long as Hays and BCS’ current leadership stays in place. Humphries faces a Sept. 30 deadline to get her release from BCS and be accepted by the U.S. team in order to be eligible to compete for the Americans this World Cup season. Read more about Humphries’ situation here.

Stat of the day

Astros pitcher Gerritt Cole struck out his 300th batter of the season last night, becoming only the 18th major leaguer since 1900 to do that. Cole needed just 198⅓ innings, which is only two outs shy of Randy Johnson’s 2001 record for the fastest to 300 Ks. That’s really impressive, and not to ruin it, but a big reason Cole was able to do this is that strikeouts are a lot more common these days. Five of those 18 300-K seasons since 1900 have come in the last five years. Also, Major League Baseball has set a new record for total strikeouts in each of the last 11 seasons — and is on pace to do it again this year.

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