NHL makes important change to offside rule
The NHL made a major change to its offside rule ahead of the upcoming 2021 season. (Jared Silver / NHLI via Getty Images)
As part of a release with final details on medical protocols and transition rules for the return of the NHL, the league and players' association announced a change to the offside rule as set out in the league's official manual.
The often annoying NHL Rule # 83 now states that a player is considered on or off based on the "level" of the blue line that is said to extend up from the leading edge of the blue line. This means that a player's position in space - rather than just their point of contact with the ice - is taken into account when making calls on the ice and when reviewing offside ratings.
It remains to be seen whether the technology is in place to efficiently envision and implement the vertical plane now being used to determine the legality of a player's position in the review process. If not, there will still be some level of interpretation and will continue the work that has been done since the offside test was first taken. However, the change eliminates unnecessary nuances of the rule, while also significantly reducing the review time. This makes them an important step forward in fixing an obvious bug in the rulebook.
Under other terms, announced Tuesday, the identities of players who tested positive for COVID-19 will be revealed to the public, a major change in the top-secret approach mandated in the league's summer returns.
Another new feature is that coaches have to wear masks behind the bench.
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