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Avs off-day notebook: How the revised NHL offside rule helped them last night



One of the things I admit to is not always being a total expert on all the rules. Some writers/broadcasters/fans can recite every line and subhead of every rule from the official NHL rulebook, but I’m too lazy for that. I mean, I can pass a test on all the basics, but when you start to get into all the weeds, I sort of mentally check out and let someone else look it up.

The NHL’s offside rule, forever, was basically: Your skates can’t enter the offensive zone ahead of the puck. Before replay could challenge it, offsides was strictly under the gaze of the linesmen, and either they caught it or they didn’t. But then the whole thing became like a Zapruder Film, with every pixel of every skate blade analyzed against every chip of ice, much to the chagrin of most everybody.

Finally, over the summer, the NHL made it more of a common-sense rule. The main tweak they made to the offsides rule was: “A player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered “off-side,” provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the leading edge of the blue line.”

And so that’s why the Avalanche’s Andre Burakovsky was NOT called for offsides last night, on what proved a very big goal in the game against Ottawa, scored by Devon Toews that broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period.

Under the old rule, Burky would definitely have been ruled offside. Here is his entry into the Ottawa zone prior to Toews’ goal:

Superstreak Bonus!

Burakovsky’s skates are clearly past the blue line, while the puck is not. That used to be offside. But because Burky had possession/control of the puck, it’s not anymore. The Senators looked at the replay and didn’t challenge it. This fooled a lot of people, including me for a bit. I get confused easy, and I’m still not quite sure I can make sense of all the offside nuances, but this is pretty easy to understand.

It’s a good rule tweak, in my opinion. Especially when it goes for your team, right?

NOTEBOOK: Avs had an optional practice today, and Bo Byram was there in the non-contact jersey. The Avs said afterward, however, that Byram will travel with the team to Dallas. It sounds like he’s in day-to-day mode for a possible return. …The Avs scored a power-play goal for the fifth consecutive contest and are 9-for-21 (42.8%) with the man-advantage through their five-game winning streak. … Avs are 7-0-1 when scoring first. …Nazem Kadri extended his point streak to nine games, equaling his career-best set from Nov. 6-24, 2017. Kadri has recorded 19 points (5g/14a) through that stretch to move into fourth place in the league in scoring with 23. … Kadri after last night’s game: “It feels great. I mean, my linemates are doing a great job. I’m dishing and they’re scoring, so timely goals. Guys are being opportunistic, so like I said, when I’m playing with the guys I’m playing with and this team that we’re playing with, it makes it a whole lot easier.”

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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AD, as a couple people who were dicks about it said on Twitter, that part of the rule didn’t change this summer The ability to lead the puck into the zone as long as the player is considered to be in control of it has been that way for years. The part that was changed was the addition of this language: “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… Read more »

Kelly Clifton

so he really was offsides?? according to that confusing quote I think he would be. Picture shows skates in O-zone and puck not across the plane. I’m confused the quote you pasted would make Burky offsides in this picture. Did he get a skate back on the line and then bring the puck across? I would be fine with a player “in control” entering the zone backward pulling the puck after and other players with at least part of one skate on the line until the puck is completely across the line. I like the idea of skates ok in… Read more »


As I thought I wrote above, that language is the recent addition to the pre-existing offside rule which already included what AD wrote above. “A player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered “off-side,” provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the leading edge of the blue line.”


We love you anyway, AD.

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