The blue line now goes up.
The NHL has modified the offside rule to allow a player’s skate to be off the ice provided it has not cleared the plane of the blue line.
From the updated version of Rule 83.1:
A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with the blue line, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line. On his own side of the line shall be defined by a “plane” of the blue line which shall extend from the leading edge of the blue line upwards. If a player’s skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck crossing the leading edge, he is deemed to be on-side for the purpose of the off-side rule.
The NHL saw 75 coach’s challenges for offside last season, with 56 (75%) overturned. The change in criteria would have seen 14 of those goals permitted to stand, according to Hockey Operations, in the cases where a player’s skate had not yet entered the zone but was off the ice.
All that will change.
No longer will attacking players have to drag their skates along the ice to stay onside.
No longer will NHL officials have to review video to see if the player’s skate remained in contact with the ice.
Nope. Not anymore. Now they’ll be reviewing to judge whether or not it crossed the vertical plane of the blue line.
The league had better have their cameras well positioned to avoid any parallax effect on the freeze-frames we will inevitably be poring over throughout the season.
If not, we’ll just be shifting the debate from ‘was it on the ice’ to ‘did it conclusively clear the plane.’