August 20, 2010

NHL finally looks at rule changes

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

I honestly couldn’t be more excited by some of the possible rule changes the NHL are mulling over in Toronto this week. Quite frankly, it’s about time that some of these should be put into play and there’s even some I would have never considered.

The first one that is an absolute must is the idea of hybrid icing. Too many players get injured slamming into the boards while chasing down pucks. It’s not even that the league would be eliminating some toughness in the game; it would be eliminating the chance to make stupid decisions. And if refs can get it right in the USHL, I’m sure NHL refs will have no problem with it.

Two-foot wide blue lines and shallower nets? Two great ideas. Any idea that expands the area of play in the attacking zone is good one.

I had never even considered moving offensive end faceoffs into the middle of the zone. But I have to say, I like it. This puts the action in goalie’s face right away and would provide for more exciting plays. It will take a while to get used to the new layout of the rink though.

Ideas like faceoffs by whistles instead of dropping the puck and red mesh in nets should be non-starters. Both seem a little unneeded for my tastes.

It’s nice to see that the NHL feels that the shootout is a gimmicky as the world believes it is. Too many teams would coast through overtime, hoping to get to penalty shots and it hurt the game. Going to four on four should be exciting, not a boon. But really, let’s keep the action at the proposed three on three (if nobody score with four aside). Dropping down to two on two is just silly. If you want to seem less gimmicky, this is the way to go.

Finally, there is one idea that I have long been champion for: Three points in the standings for a win. Even better more emphasis should be placed on winning in regulation, as opposed to extra time. Why not adopt the system that Olympics used? The idea of getting three points for a reg. win, two for an OT or shootout win and one for an OT or shootout loss is brilliant. It would make teams try harder to win outright instead of rolling the dice in OT. And the way the current system is right now, the league is basically admitting that a win is only slightly better than losing in a shootout. How is that right.

I really hope that some of these ideas make their way into the world of puck. They can make the game safer, more exciting and fairer. And isn’t that the point of rules in the first place?

Leave a Reply