NHL Rule Adjustments


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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Young Gunz!

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.

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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.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    To curb diving, they really just need to start calling diving on its own. I can’t ever remember seeing a diving call where the guy on the other team didn’t get a coincidental tripping/hooking/holding call. What’s the incentive not to dive if worst case your team is going to be playing 4 v 4?

    Also, get rid of the trapezoid all together #AvoidTheZoid

    • vetinari

      For the love of all that is good, never get rid of the trapezoid!

      Without it, the defensive team just lines up 3 or 4 guys across their own blueline once they have a lead, making it almost impossible to carry the puck in.

      The attacking team has no choice but to shoot the puck into the corner, where a good stickhandling goalie will just lift the puck back out of the zone. With 3 or 4 defenders lined up across the blueline, it’s almost a certainty that the goalie will get the puck before the opposition can navigate around the pylons.

      Dump in. Flip out. Dump in. Flip out. Dump in. Flip out.

  • The fines for diving may not stop it, but it is a good first step because it will highlight just how much of an issue it is.

    I would rather not see in game penalties for diving, but I think having suspensions for repeat offenders would be perfect.

  • ubermiguel

    I care about the spin-o-rama. I’ve become a fan of the shoot-out because it is a entertaining end to an often dull game. Yes, it’s a silly skills competition but the excitement in the rink as soon as the skater gets the puck is palpable. God forbid that I be too entertained by something like a spin-o-rama though. Or God forbid there is an NHL highlight that people debate at work the next day and share on YouTube. The spin-o-rama is a silly move, but ultimately hockey is about entertainment!

    I’d love to see a strict time limit on faceoffs. The linesman blows his whistle, the teams have exactly 20 seconds to line up, if you’re not lined up the puck still drops. You’d only need a couple of faceoffs where the centre is halfway across the ice then teams would start hustling to the dot.

  • Re: spinoramas, first off.. I agree.. Who really cares they are gone. However as a mere fan I’ll probably never understand the desire to prevent embarrassment to a goaltender. There is a code in hockey that doesn’t always translate to us fans, even if we played forms of organized Hockey too. Anyways any dekes that go in can embarrass a goaltender. Any shot that goes in can embarrass a goaltender. I don’t see how a spinorama is different. In the end its just another form of tactic to disguise what you’re trying to do. Omark’s was probably unnecessary in that it really served little, if any purpose, being done so early in the move.

    Anyways, a shooters role is to put the puck in the net how he can. Seems like banning a spinorama is like banning an around the world glove save.

    In the end tho.. You’re right. I won’t miss it and I don’t really care.

  • vetinari

    I would be content if they eliminated the trapezoid altogether. I think that the greatest risk to a goalie playing the puck would be a low speed collision with opposing forwards while defencemen run the risk of catastrophic high speed injuries (i.e.- Fedun).

    As for diving, fines aren’t enough, especially when the lowest paid players make $500K+/year. I would go with the game misconduct but add on a further one game suspension for each additional diving call after the first in the same season. The league could set up an “appeal” process for players if they feel that they were mischaracterized as divers but it would quickly get them to play the game the right way after the second or third suspension. And keep the coach’s fines.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    “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.”

    That would be awesome. I agree 100%.

  • OilCanFan1

    I think the trapezoid should be dropped, if there is a good stick handling goalie, why penalize a team for it? The diving fines are definitely not enough and while I like Jason Strudwick’s suggestion, it does need an addition for when the referees miss it on the ice. If the ref’s do miss it, it should be reviewed and in addition to the fine, an automatic suspension which also grows with the number of offences. I also like the face off rule.

  • The way things are going with the shootout these days, they may as well have the goalies sit it out and have the players shoot from center at the covered goal front with the little hole they use for those “Million Dollar Shot” contests.

  • OilCanFan1

    Bah, rule changes are a waste of time if you ask me.

    And hey Struds, how the heck will a spin-o-rama injure a goalie? Wouldn’t the player be at more risk for injury (retribution and not focussing on what’s around them)?

  • OilCanFan1

    Isn’t one reason for the change to the tripping rule to enhance player safety? If a defenseman goes for the trip and gets the puck first, it’s still not going to be pleasant for the forward that has to slide into the boards while going at maximum speed!

  • OilCanFan1

    Banning the spinorama is silly. It’s a skill competition anyway, you may as well keep it. If you want to start removing the fun from it and eliminate the chance of embarassing goaltenders, let’s just have the shootout be a shot competition from the blue-line. Line up anywhere you want on the blue line and either wrist or slap it in. There. Boring and won’t embarass the goaltenders. Wait, let’s not do this. You’d probably start missing the spinoramas then and that’s just flirting with the idea of having a fun skill competition again and we can’t have that, right?

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    I find one of the most distinctive parts of the Gary Bettman reign of error has been the unbelievable amount of rule changes and additions.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    100% agree on the draconian approach to diving enforcement!

    Though I’d have a panel review calls and issue 1 game suspensions. I don’t think the individual should be off scot-free the moment the next puck is dropped. Also, add a game to the suspension with each subsequent infraction.

    Divers be gone!

  • Rusty Patenaude

    I agree with 5 and a game for diving. I would also put in a coach’s challenge of suspected dives to go to replay with the same consequences as a stick measurement (2 minute delay of game if the challenge shows no dive occurred)

    Players dive b/c there is rarely any consequence for diving.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Diving, make it TWO minors and a ten. Put the team down 5 on 3, plus your buddy (a player off the ice at the time of the infraction) is sitting next to you in the box. At this point your likely getting scored on. Your buddy thinks your a dumb ass and that has to be an uncomfortable two. Then you sit there for 10. Plus, if it’s a skill line during the infraction you might be loosing top end players for 2:00 or less. Make diving THE CARDINAL SIN, up there with a slew foot.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Definitely agree with Struds about diving. Reading the trapezoid change, all I could think of was Patrick Roy undressing Gretzky at the center line.

  • beloch

    Banning the spinorama is stupid. Fixing a problem that doesn’t exist. I dont care if the goalie is embarrassed, do your job and save the puck. Hockey is entertainment and if you are doing a shootout why wouldn’t you let guys do pretty much anything that is entertaining for the fans. I think a shootout move should only be banned if it is too good and everyone is using it because it is unstoppable.

  • vetinari

    What’s dumber than “spinoramas”, is the shoot out itself. There are no shoot outs during the play offs, why the double standard. I know that the shoot out is a big deal for the fans in Carolina and Florida[ its the only part of the game they understand]

    Extend the overtime by a few more minutes, if its still tied.,, go home with one point each.

  • toprightcorner

    Spinorama could injure a goalie Struds??? What spinoramas do you watch. Simply make contact with a goalie at anytime during the attempt a no goal. Let the skilled players do their thing, shootout is not just to prevent ties but an exciting thing for the fans to watch, skill is fun and any move that is shown on the plays of the day should be encouraged not banned.

    All about satisfying those sniveling goalies with over sized equipment. Put on Fuhrs equipment from the early 80’s and use skill instead of size to stop the puck!!