There is certainly a lot of discussion going on, either on the internet or hockey talk radio about some of the proposed rule change experiments at the R & D camp in Toronto. I thought this would be a good time to weigh in on some changes I would like to see, whether or not they are currently being experimented with at the R&D camp.
Icing – There has been a lot of talk about icing and how the NHL should either go to a “hybrid” of no touch or just go to no touch all together. I actually am against changing the icing rule. I know it can be dangerous as guys fly down the ice to touch the puck and this can lead to devistating checks against the boards but going to any kind of no-touch will just slow the game down.
Delayed Penalty – “A team who has committed an infraction of the rules but does not have possession of the puck, needs to not only gain possession of the puck but also get the puck out of their zone before the referee blows his whistle to stop play and impose the penalty on the offending player.” – I like this rule because there are times when I feel the player doesn’t actually have possession of the puck yet and the whistle blows.
Penalty – No more minor/major penalties. If you get called for 2 mins <insert infraction here> then you serve 2 minutes regardless of how many times the opposition scores. Do the crime, pay the time.
Hexagon – Lets get rid of it. I know, I know, I am a Devils fan and this has impacted Marty Brodeur more than any other goalie in the league so why wouldn’t I be bringing this up? Seriously though, the rule is dumb, plain and simple. I am for allowing the goalie to go into the corners to get the puck but if a goalie leaves his crease and goes behind the goal line, then the opposing team is allowed to throw a check at him. There should be a risk for leaving your crease in order to play the puck and it shouldn’t have anything to do with where you can and can’t touch the puck.
Shootout - I personally would get rid of it because I don’t think there is anything wrong with a tie score, especially if you change the point values of a win vs OT but lets be realistic, its not going to happen. The NHL seems happy with having this in the game. Some people seem to want to make this longer and have 5 shooters but I don’t want to do that either. I say if you are keeping the shootout, then teams should be allowed to decide who shoots on the fly and not have to come up with a list prior to the start. Seems like a minor change but it keeps the goalies wondering who will be coming at them. Since I think the shootout stays, the points for a game should be: 3 Points for a win in regulation, 2 Points for a win in overtime and 1 Point for a win in a shootout. If you don’t win the game, you don’t get a point, even if you get to OT. If I really had my way, it would be 3 20 minute periods followed by a 10 min 4on4 OT and then a tie score if it wasn’t settled by then.
Long Changes – The hardest part about the second period in a hockey game is the long change. In order to create more fatigue in the game, which opens up the game a little more, the long change should exist in periods 1 and 3 and not in period 2.
Those are my rule changes that I would make. What changes, if any, would you make?