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Could the NHL benefit from a coaches challenge for instant replay?

Oct 28, 2010, 9:38 PM EDT

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Scott Clemmensen, Colton Orr

Ever wonder what it’d be like if instant replays in the NHL could be treated the same way they are in the NFL? Say there’s an instance where a coach feels a goal was scored by a high stick that the officials missed and the coach wanted them to replay it, would you want the coach to have the option of challenging the play? TSN’s Darren Dreger conducted a poll of 21 NHL coaches to find out what they think of the idea and the results may surprise you.

14 coaches who were asked, “Would you support a coaches challenge for certain plays, like goalie interference?” said it’s time that a coach’s challenge is introduced, but not without significant limits.

One coach who voted in favour says it would have to be limited to perhaps one challenge per team and would have to include a deterrent, such as a forfeiture of a timeout, or a two minute penalty if the team loses the challenge.

Seven coaches voted against introducing a coach’s challenge rule, saying they would prefer to leave the game and element of human error as is.

A coach who voted “no” bluntly called for better officiating, while another “no” voter predicts teams would manipulate the situation, perhaps faking an injury to buy time to check video before issuing challenges.

The key to implementing something like this in the future is to make sure that coaches can’t abuse the system. Limiting it to one challenge per game and offering a deterrent like a minor penalty for delay of game should do the trick to make it work. Is there really a desperate need to have such a system, is the real question. My thought on this is that, no, there really isn’t.

While fans and Panthers coach Pete DeBoer are upset about Colton Orr steamrolling Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen on his way to scoring a goal the other night, that’s the kind of situation that isn’t reviewable under any circumstances and it’s more of a clearer example that on-ice officiating just needs to be better, period. Goalie interference calls are ones where officials are either too eager to protect the goalie or allow the goalie to be run over and there’s very little in the way of consistency to it.

That said, replay is used in so few instances in the NHL, adding a coaches challenge doesn’t do much to help things along. It’s a nice idea and could be used, but how much it would be put to use is debatable.

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