NHL Changes Rule On Major Penalties For 2022-23 Season

A rule that has now changed over the past few seasons is that of a major penalty call. Since it can be such a big turning point in every game and we have seen important games be shifted because of these calls, the NHL is allowing more leeway in regards to the referee's ruling.

This covers rule 20.6. Previously, when a major call was assessed, the referees could either decide to uphold the call after review or downgrade the major to a minor penalty. Starting in 2022-23, there will be a third option which is to fully erase the call.

It is not making the game any slower as some people may think since the referees already review every major call. There will be no reviews for minor infractions. Before, a player could have done nothing wrong and a referee saw something wrong, resulting in a penalty either way.

Take the Vegas Golden Knight vs. San Jose Sharks Game 7 of the 2018 first round as the best example that first got the rule changed. In the third period, Cody Eakin pushed Joe Pavelski in the faceoff circle while he was off-balance, resulting in a head injury. Since the referees saw an injured player, the major penalty of a cross-check was given and the Sharks scored four goals and won the game.
That was the extreme example that could have very well happened again. Between the first change and last season, teams could still get a disadvantage from receiving a penalty if one shouldn't have even been called. It is a final correction to the rule and will help make things a bit more fair for both sides in every game.

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