Coach’s Challenges really break up the flow of a game. In addition to teams and fans withholding celebration – or frustration – there’s also considerable down-time while the officials review the play. There’s not much that can be done to shorten the time of the actual reviews themselves, especially without compromising the need to get the call right. Let’s face it – if we’re going to stop things to take a second, third, fourth, or fifth look at a play, you’ve got to make sure you’ve made the right call.
The league is taking some time off the process by trimming the coach’s window to challenge.
In its continuing attempt to speed up the replay process, the NHL sent a memo to all teams last Friday indicating referees were to drop the puck 30-35 seconds after a goal. There’s a deal with the television partners to allow about that much time for replays after a score. Coaches have been instructed to decide challenge/no challenge during that time.
Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan took 36 seconds to set in motion a (successful) challenge of a Vancouver goal in the first period last Saturday night. That’s what the league wants.
We’d previously called for a ‘Challenge Clock’ to start ticking when the goal is scored, giving opposing coaches a finite time in which they can issue a challenge. While a formal countdown may not be in place, it’s great to hear the league taking steps in that direction.