On Thursday the NHL announced numerous rule tweaks. A few of them will have an impact on the play, others most people won’t even notice a difference! Let’s take a look at what it will mean for the players.
Rule 1.8 – Rink – Goalkeeper’s Restricted Area
The trapezoid will be expanded by two feet from the goal post on both sides of the net.
This one is a step in the right direction for enhancing player safety, specifically for defencemen. Going back to make a play at high speed while under pressure from a forechecker is very difficult at the best of times. Doing it when the puck is up against the dasher makes it even harder. The extra two feet on both sides of the goal will make a difference goalies’ ability to set the puck up.
Some people are suggesting this could create more messed up exchanges between the goalies and defencemen. There is a chance of this but not as much as you would think. Sharp goalies will know to set up the puck and get out of the way if his D has time. He will also know to play it if his D is under pressure.
Rule 24 – Penalty Shot
The ‘Spin-O-Rama’ move, as described in Section 24.2 of the 2013-14 NHL Rule Book, will no longer be permitted either in Penalty Shot situations or in the Shootout.
WHO CARES???? I never liked the spin-o-rama. I thought it embarrassed the goalie and could cause injury to them. You won’t even notice it is gone.
Rule 57 – Tripping
The rule relating to “Tripping” will be revised to specifically provide that a two minute minor penalty will be assessed when a defending player “dives” and trips an attacking player with his body/arm/shoulder, regardless of whether the defending player is able to make initial contact with the puck.
But, in situations where a penalty shot might otherwise be appropriate, if the defending player “dives” and touches the puck first (before the trip), no penalty shot will be awarded. (In such cases, the resulting penalty will be limited to a two-minute minor penalty for tripping.)
I am not a fan of this one. I understand why they put this adjustment in the rule books, they want more scoring chances and breakaways or half breakaways are exciting.
I think diving for the puck with your stick and getting a piece of it is a skilled play. It is so difficult to do first without tripping the player first. Most people won’t notice a difference, only the people that appreciate a great defensive play will. I am in that group!
Rule 64 – Diving / Embellishment
The supplementary discipline penalties associated with Rule 64.3 (Diving/Embellishment) will be revised to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Fines will be assessed to players and head coaches on a graduated scale.
DIVING! We are talking about DIVING! I can’t stand diving! Any player that dives should be embarrassed. People think it is hard to tell if it is a dive or not? It isn’t hard. If you have to wonder if it was or not I think they should call it as one. Don’t mess around with trying to get diving out of the game. Force it out of the game.
The NHL has put in a fine system. The fines start at $2000 and work up to $5000. Really? This is going prevent players from diving? Not a chance.
If you want to get it out of the game, which I do, get serious about it. I suggest the following.
All diving penalties are a five minute major and a game misconduct. BOOM. Out of the game. Yes, there will be players who aren’t guilty that get punished, that is good. It will make all players even more likely to not dive, battle through checks and play hockey.
Don’t mess around with nickel fines. If you are truly serious about removing this plague from the game of hockey get heavy with the consequences.
Rule 76 – Face-offs
To curb delay tactics on face-offs after icing infractions, in situations where the defending team is guilty of a face-off violation, following an icing, the defending player who is initially lined up for the face-off will be given a warning, but will be required to remain in the circle to take the face-off. A second face-off violation by the defending team in such situation will result in a two minute minor bench penalty.
This is good one. Keep the game moving for the team that has the pressure on. I would have liked to have seen the NHL take it a step further.
The attacking team should set the speed for the puck drop as well. When the defending team ices the puck they take their time getting back to their zone for the icing faceoff. It is frustrating to see them drag their feet when you have them on their heels. Under my rule the attacking team could rush up to the faceoff and as soon as they are ready the puck could be dropped. They set the pace for the faceoff. The pace of play would be great and it rewards the attacking team for being sharp.
Rule 1.9 – Rink – Face-off Spots and Circles – Ice Markings/Hash Marks
The hash marks at the end zone circles will be moved from three feet apart to five feet, seven inches apart (international markings).
I really like this. This is going to create a lot more open space off of faceoffs. It actually is good for both the offensive and defensive players. If the offensive player gets the puck he has more room to make a play with that extra time. He could make a quick pass or even take a quick shot. The defensive player will have more time to get the puck and get going on the breakout.
The drawbacks for both are pretty obvious as well. With both sides getting more time and space to create I could see an uptick in penalties like hooking. That extra space will force players to really move their feet to bridge the gap quickly or they will be lazy and use their sticks.
Overall I do like the small adjustments to the rule book by the NHL. We will see if they all make it through preseason. My guess is they will. I would like to see the area behind the net goalies can go into grow. I know this will save more defenceman from injuries.
The one rule that has really changed the game is eliminating the red line. This has created so much speed through the neutral zone. I am in awe of the speed on the attack generated. I wonder how much faster the game can get and wonder if it is creating a safety issue; collisions at higher speeds are more violent. How much tolerance is there from the NHL for this? Although some of these slight rule changes help it isn’t enough to slow the pace through the neutral zone and into the dump and chase game.