Bruins’ Julien: NHL Coach’s Challenge “Like a Box of Chocolates”

The NHL’s new coach’s challenge play review system has not been kind to the Boston Bruins so far this season. Back in January, the B’s were victorious against the Flyers despite being burned by the replay system following a Philadelphia goal, which should have been called back due to offsides (Del Zotto’s back foot is raised – his only foot making contact with the ice is offside – therefore he is offside).

Just last week, the Bruins played victim of the flawed replay system once again, when the Dallas Stars scored not one, but two controversial goals to put Boston in a hole. However, the Bruins battled back, and were ultimately victorious.

Despite the fact that these two examples didn’t result in any drop in the standings (Boston was fortunate enough to win both), it’s easy to understand why so many Bostonians – and hockey fans from across the league, for that matter, are fed up with the NHL’s video review system.

Perhaps the person who is most infuriated with the coach’s challenge system is Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien.

Having been burned by the system on several occasions, Julien knows the anger that the system can draw out – especially given the fact that an unsuccessful challenge means forfeiting your timeout.

The Solution

Of course, Claude Julien is paid to solve problems, so he offered up a few ideas on how the NHL might be able to save the coach’s challenge.

“I think maybe coaches need a better understanding of what the referees are looking at and how they’re calling it,”  said Julien, per “The other part is if it’s one of those things where we feel it’s inconsistent from referees to referees, then maybe we take it out of their hands and take the pressure off them as well. They’re having to tell everybody, ‘I was wrong,’ or ‘I missed it,’ which for some might not be a big deal, (but) for others (is) a bigger one.”

Julien pointed out that a play that is ruled “inconclusive” must remain with the call on the ice, even though it does not necessarily mean the coach who is challenging the play was wrong. Even so, the coach must forfeit their timeout – which is something that Julien can’t wrap his head around.

“And the other part that I said is that any time that (a replay) is inconclusive — especially offside in that area there, but even in other areas as well — I don’t think we should lose our timeout because of that fact, because we could be right after all. Inconclusive doesn’t mean we were wrong. So that is something that they should look at as well.”

While the NHL’s coach’s review is a good idea in theory, it clearly needs some fixing up. Of course, in its first season, you would expect some hiccups, however, the inconsistency that has surrounded the system for the entirety of the season has caused quite a stir.

It’s that same inconsistency that prompted Julien to make a clever (one might even call it masterful) “Forrest Gump” reference.

“Ask every coach the same question,” Julien said with a smile. “You know, it’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.”