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The countdown is on to the opening of the NHL season, with 2017-18 being the 101st season in league history. The new season will bring some key rule changes, more outdoor games and a brand new team. To get you prepared for the start of the new season, I’ll outline some key dates and go over the noteworthy rule changes that will impact 2017-18.
Here are some of the key changes:
Challenging the offside rule
If you can remember back to last season, certain NHL coaches made a habit out of challenging extremely close offside calls that often left officials trying to determine whether or not a player’s skate was a fraction off the ice.
The penalty for a coach who challenged the play and was ultimately unsuccessful was the loss of a timeout and further challenges.
However for this season, there is a literal penalty for it. A failed offside challenge will result in a two-minute penalty.
This means there is more at stake for a coach to risk a tight call on a technicality and hopefully brings the rule back to its original intention: to correct the offside that was obviously missed. If a team challenge a call on goaltender interference on a goal, however, the team that asked for the review will still only lose a timeout if the original call stands.
Starting in the 2017-18 season, each coach has to complete a concussion training programme on an annual basis and provide proof that they took part in the necessary training.
A head coach who has knowledge of a player sustaining a concussion or exhibiting concussion type symptoms must complete a NHL Return to play form relating to the injury. The form must be delivered to the team manager within 48 hours of becoming aware of such an injury.
The team manager must provide a copy of the report to the player’s parent or legal guardian.
Until the completed Return to play portion of the form is received by the team manager, the coach and team manager has to ensure that the player does not participate in any team physical activities. To do so could have terrible consequences such as longer term brain damage.
High-sticking against power play team
Friedman reported that under Rule 80.4, a team on the man advantage that played a puck after it was high-sticked had the face-off come all the way back to their defensive end. Now, if the team with the man advantage plays a puck after it was high-sticked in the offensive zone, the ensuing face-off will be in the neutral zone next to the defending team’s blue line.
This is another rule done to favour the offence.
No timeouts after icing
Any team that ices the puck will no longer be able to call a timeout to rest a certain selection of players.
Since any player on the ice when the puck is shot down must remain, this rule helps encouraging offence by keeping tired players tired, and not letting teams give them a short rest that usually they need and are given.
New salary cap
There is a new upper and lower limit for the salary cap this season. The cap limit has gone from $73 million last season to $75 million in 2017-18, while the bottom level rests at $55.4 million. Before LTIR comes into effect, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the highest salary bill, while the Arizona Coyotes come in at the lowest level at $57.514 million according to capfriendly.com.
- 3rd – Opening day playing rosters set (5 p.m. ET)
- 4th – Opening night of 2017-18 NHL regular season (4 games); Pittsburgh Penguins raise Stanley Cup banner (vs. St. Louis Blues)
- 5th – First regular-season game at Little Caesars Arena (Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings)
- 6th – First regular-season game for Vegas Golden Knights (at Dallas Stars)
- 10th – Vegas Golden Knights home opener at T-Mobile Arena (vs. Arizona Coyotes)
- 23rd – NHL Alumni Awards Gala: Honourees: Mario Lemieux, Wendy McCreary, TBA (Toronto, Ont.)
- 10-11th – 2017 SAP NHL Global Series: Colorado Avalanche vs. Ottawa Senators (Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden)
- 10th – Hockey Hall of Fame Game: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs
- 13th – Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Toronto): Inductees: Dave Andreychuk, Danielle Goyette, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Clare Drake, Jeremy Jacobs, Cam Cole, Dave Strader.
- 17th – NHL General Managers Meeting (Le Windsor Hotel, Montreal)