Breaking: NHL officially changes Coach’s Challenge rules

Effective immediately! Wow! Who saw this coming!?

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File this under the category of “Things you never thought you’d ever see”: The NHL has actually changed a rule mid-season. According to the league’s official Public Relations social media account, the NHL’s Board of Governors has approved changes to Rule 78.7 (ii) Coach’s Challenge - Goaltender Interference. The updated rule will be implemented for tomorrow’s games.

Starting tomorrow night the “Situation Room” in Toronto will have the final say on ALL goaltender interference challenges after first consulting with the game’s on-ice officials. Previously, referees had the final decision in determining whether or not a goal could be overturned as a result of goaltender interference, but starting tomorrow they’ll have to concede to yet to be named group of off-ice officials in Toronto.

Wow… this HAS to be the first time that the NHL has implemented a rule change mid-season. But, with the amount of backlash that the league was receiving from players, coaches, GM’s and fans… I guess we can’t be too surprised.

But hey… here’s an idea: if the Coach’s Challenge is such a big problem, why not do away with it entirely? Just a thought guys…

UPDATE: Former NHL referees Don Van Massenhiven, Rob Shick, Bill McCreary, Paul Devorski and Stephen Walkom will man the situation room in Toronto.

Masterton Trophy nominees revealed

New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle tops the list of Masterton Trophy nominees from around the NHL, but don’t be surprised if another deserving individual takes home the award at the NHL Awards this June.

The award, given out annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”, will be presented this June at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. Each of the NHL’s 31 teams has a player nominated by the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA), but the list is whittled down to just three official nominees by the NHL in advance of the award ceremony.

Boyle, as you may recall, was diagnosed with leukaemia just prior to the start of the regular season. The 33 year old veteran battled through treatment and looked to be ready to return to the NHL when he learned that doctors were concerned that his two year old son Declan may also have a rare form of cancer.

“Doctors had Declan pegged for Ewing Sarcoma, it was almost a done deal,” Boyle said. “They were telling us what it might be to prepare us. It was the worst two days of my entire life.” As it turns out both father and son are cancer free and moving forward with their lives together. Boyle has had a remarkable season considering the circumstances, putting up 13 goals and 23 points in 62 games and even earning himself an NHL All-Star Game appearance.

But, while Boyle may be considered to be the frontrunner for this year’s award, he’s not the only deserving candidate. Vancouver Canucks forward Derek Dorsett had his career tragically cut short this season due to a devastating neck injury. The 31 year old pugilist was in the midst of a career season too with seven goals and nine points in his first 20 games when team doctors delivered the news that he’d never play hockey again.

Then there’s Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal who tragically lost his newborn daughter to a rare birth defect earlier this season. The Hurricanes co-captain has soldiered on scoring 17 goals and 43 points in 73 games this season.

For the full list of nominees, see below:

Anaheim Ducks
Arizona Coyotes - D Jakob Chychrun
Boston Bruins - F David Backes
Buffalo Sabres - F Kyle Okposo
Calgary Flames - F Matt Stajan
Carolina Hurricanes - F Jordan Staal
Chicago Blackhawks - G Jeff Glass
Colorado Avalanche
Columbus Blue Jackets - D Zach Werenski
Dallas Stars - F Mattias Janmark
Detroit Red Wings
Edmonton Oilers - D Adam Larsson
Florida Panthers - G Roberto Luongo
Los Angeles Kings - F Dustin Brown
Minnesota Wild - F Matt Cullen
Montreal Canadiens - G Antti Niemi
Nashville Predators - F Austin Watson
New Jersey Devils - F Brian Boyle
New York Islanders - F Josh Bailey
New York Rangers - F Chris Kreider
Ottawa Senators - D Mark Borowiecki
Philadelphia Flyers - F Claude Giroux
Pittsburgh Penguins - D Kris Letang
San Jose Sharks - F Joe Thornton
St Louis Blues - G Carter Hutton
Tampa Bay Lightning - F Steven Stamkos
Toronto Maple Leafs - D Roman Polak
Vancouver Canucks - F Derek Dorsett
Vegas Golden Knights - D Brad Hunt
Washington Capitals - F Devante Smith-Pelly
Winnipeg Jets - D Tyler Myers