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Blackhawks leading the NHL in one surprising statistic

Published March 21, 2024 at 7:56 PM

The Chicago Blackhawks have been bottom-dwellers these last two seasons in the NHL. Unfortunately, this is the truth, of a rebuilding franchise, but they have been the best in one statistic.

With Luke Richardson at the team's helm, the Blackhawks have won 13 of 15 coaches' challenges. Thanks to video coaches Matt Meacham and Adam Gill, that is a success rate of 86.7%.


The dynamic duo had only lost two coach challenges this season, when the team played the Tampa Bay Lightning, with an offside challenge where Brayden Point was involved, and when there was a goaltender interference challenge on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both times, Richardson and the coaching staff decided to try their luck.

Meacham has been with the team since 2013-2014 and has been one of the best to do it in the league. Gill would join this season, after spending the majority of his professional hockey career with the Rockford IceHogs.

The duo has the ability to challenge a play down to a science, as Gill is on watch for plays in the zone entry, the first line of defense. Meacham will communicate with Derek Plante if he finds a play off-side, even if it is in the offensive zone.

Meacham will notify Plante if there's a cause to challenge, and also have a failsafe if communication goes down, where they can communicate by monitor, using signs such as "Good Goal", "offside" or "goalie interference".

The most difficult to nail however is goaltender interference, to which Jimmy Waite is in the booth with them, ready to help out from the press box, with access to the radio channel.

"We joke all the time about, if we miss a faceoff or the TV truck misses the faceoff, we're like: 'What just happened?'" Meacham said. "Like if there's a faceoff goal, I don't even know how, until we get a replay sometimes, we don't know exactly who shot it, if it hit the goalie or whatever, you know what I mean?

"So sometimes we're barking like: 'Ah!' They're showing somebody on the bench or something and all of a sudden play is happening and we're like: 'We have no idea.' And so it's a little frustrating for us, but that's what we have.

"When we record, we have two feeds. We have the TV feed and then we have an overheard coaches, so we do have the ability to, it's like a zoomed out version so you can see every guy on the ice, so you can't necessarily see if you have a high stick or something but you can at least watch the play that two or three seconds that we didn't get to see on the TV feed."

The team has seven permanent real-time cameras in the United Center: four blue-line cameras, two cameras over each crease, and a full-rink camera ready.

"The win-loss record wasn't really a thing, just because there were times where we needed a timeout anyway and it was a free challenge," Meacham said. "Even though there was no offside or something, Joel would be like: 'Well, we're challenging it, we're using it as a timeout and maybe it's just a 50-50 shot that it was goalie interference or something.'

"And so that's how it evolved from you lose your timeout to now the league's like you're going to get a penalty — delay of game — if you're going to sit there and challenge some random thing that's not even close."

The team has a great winning percentage this season, going 13 for 15 and we hope they continue to be successful in the future.
March 21   |   94 answers
Blackhawks leading the NHL in one surprising statistic

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