If you believe that the Buffalo Sabres are a cursed team, this argument will back up your opinion. The NHL implemented a new rule this year where head coaches would have the power to challenge a goal if he believed the play resulted from a missed off sides call or if there is a potential goal tender interference call.
This new rule wasn't something people were demanding for after the most recent NHL season. The challenge rule has its flaws but the most simple problem it has is this. It slows the game down and takes away the few goals that are scored each game.
Ever since the end of the lockout in 2005, the NHL has lacked the large amounts of offense that it used to have in the 80s and 90s when Wayne Gretzky was tallying 200 points and Teemu Selanne was scoring 76 goals as a rookie. Fast forward to modern day and we see the top stars in the NHL tallying 76 total points. It is a different game in the NHL and not for the better.
According to hockey-reference.com, the average goals a game has gone from what was 3.08 goals per game to now what is one of the all time lows with 2.68 goals a game being scored on average.
There are many reasons for the decline of scoring size of the ice, nets, and goalie play has never been better. However this new rule isn't helping the cause. It is hurting the entertainment value of the NHL.
Since Tuesday of this week, there have been 44 challenges by a head coach. 28 goals have been upheld and 16 have been taken away. Three of those goals taken away were at the mercy of the Buffalo Sabres. Two of those goals would have resulted in Buffalo forcing overtime at the least.
As for challenging based on goaltender interference, I have no issue with that. However challenging a decision on a goal based on the fact that a linesmen missed an off sides call is simply frustrating.
If the refs whose jobs are to call the play dead if a forward goes into the offensive zone before the puck does cannot consistently make the right call, then the NHL needs to evaluate its hiring process for referees.
The refs have also been dreadful at making the right penalty calls this year because they simply aren't calling them, but that is a topic for another day.
Another major hole in the coaches challenge call is that even if the player was indeed off sides and the goal is brought back, the time that was spent in the offensive zone is not put back on the clock.
Against Dallas Tuesday night, the Sabres power play goal from Sam Reinhart was taken back after Tyler Ennis was called off sides. What cost the Sabres dearly was the fact that 90 seconds on the power play were lost in space. The play never counted yet the time it took to make it did?
Doesn't seem fair for a team on the man advantage to get punished for a referee's mistake. In theory a team could essentially be in the offensive zone for 5 minutes and score, however if there was a player that went off sides, or a goalie was interfered with in his crease, those 5 minutes are lost and so is the goal.
The coaches challenge poses a new aspect of the game that fans and players a like will have to adjust to. It does correct mistakes that referees miss and although the goals shouldn't count, the rule still has major holes that the NHL needs to fix.
Also it simply hurts the speed and entertainment value of the game.