Recapping the New NHL Rules for 2015-16

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Posted June 29, 2015

Faceoffs will be sooooo different next season. 

There will be some new rules to get used to during the new season, starting for Caps fans in about three months. Notable changes include faceoffs, overtime, and new Coaches’ Challenge.

The biggest change out of the Board of Governors meeting today was the new format of NHL overtimes. Previously, teams would skate 4-on-4 for 5 minutes before a shootout if no goals were scored. Apparently, 44.4% of games that went to overtime being decided in overtime was not enough. Teams will now skate 3-on-3 for 5 minutes, followed by a shootout if the score is still tied.

The AHL experimented with 3 v 3 hockey in overtime this past year, but the teams first had to skate 4 v 4. The NHLPA and the GMs managed to agree on skipping straight 3-on-3.

On faceoffs, the team who’s playing “defense” on the draw must now place his stick on the dot first. Previously, for draws in the offside dots, the visiting team’s center had to declare first. Now, the only place a declaration must be made is the center-ice faceoff circle.

New this year is something some have been clamoring for: the Coaches’ Challenge. It won’t apply to a lot of things, but coaches will now be able to challenge two kinds of goals: those scored off a potential offside and those scored on potential goalie interference.

In order to challenge a play, the team must not have used there timeout. Video review will be expanded to help ensure accuracy on these new Coaches’ Challenges.

Considering the 55.6% of games that went to a shootout, especially the 20-round fiasco the Caps had in Florida, a 3-on-3 OT seems reasonable. The increased space should allow skilled players enough room to set up shots more easily.

The new Coaches’ Challenge will need to work itself out. Coaches do not have a lot they can challenge, but the first instance of possible interference or offside, you can bet that any coach with their timeout remaining will ask to challenge the play.