Photo Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

NHL testing new rules in Hlinka Gretzky Cup

As you all know, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is taking place right here in Edmonton over the course of this week. Canada’s currently rolling through the tournament and is looking to defend their gold medal from the previous tournament. 

The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is a great opportunity for Edmonton to show off its facility and grow the game of hockey in Alberta. As per Hockey Canada, net proceeds from the Hlinka Gretzky Cup will remain in the host province to support the growth of the game and grassroots hockey initiatives.

While a lot of NHL scouts are watching the players closely during the tournament, NHL officials and staff are also watching three new rules that the U18 players are playing with. The NHL has implemented the new rules in this tournament to experiment with. If all goes well, it sounds like they’d look to implement this into the National Hockey League one day as well. The rules (written from Mark Spector) are as followed:

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• A team will lose the opportunity to change lines if a defending player or goaltender unintentionally dislodges the net, augmenting the current rule that a minor penalty will be assessed to any player who deliberately dislodges the net.

I can get behind this new rule. Forcing players to be more aware of where the net is in your defensive zone will put the onus on them not to knock it off. Do you want to be the guy to accidentally dislodge the net and prevent your team from making a crucial line change? This should increase game flow and prevent unnecessary whistles. This goes the same with goaltenders who purposely knock the net off to give their team a break or line change opportunity.

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As a below-average beer league goalie, I personally play close to my posts and frequently dislodge the net unintentionally. This could pose a potential problem for some goalies, however, I think it’s safe to say the pegs in National Hockey League arenas are much better than City of Edmonton rinks.

• Teams awarded a power play may choose which offensive zone circle the ensuing face-off will occur, regardless of where the penalty was called.

This is a fantastic rule. Face off location is crucial especially cause every team has some type of specialist that is used on powerplays and penalty kill. Having the offensive team decide where the face off is taking place will be a huge advantage to them. Maybe we’d see some more Oiler powerplay goals?

• When the power play team makes its decision, the short-handed team will be allowed to change lines first, followed by a line change by the power play team if necessary.

This rule is no surprise and is made up to supplement the previous rule, and make it fair to the shorthanded team. Although it could add some entertainment value to try screw over the shorthanded team, leaving them in the dark as to which type of centerman to put out for the faceoff.

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What are your thoughts on the NHL experimenting with these new rules. Would you like to see them in the NHL one day?

  • Cambridge

    While we are on the subject of rules, can somebody explain why a penalized team is allowed to ice the puck during the penalty? An infraction is committed, a penalty is assessed, and then the severity of the penalty is mitigated by allowing the offending team to ice the puck while the penalty is in force. How does this make sense?

    • FISTO Siltanen

      I’ve thought this exact thing. Felt coming out of ’05 lockout this would be a bold change to sway teams to avoid penalties.

      I think it would have an unintended consequence. I believe the PP team would have such an advantage refs would be even more reluctant to call the game by the book and more hooking, holding and interference would ensue.

  • Rob...

    I like all 3 rule adds, however I’m wondering why you think it benefits (‘make it fair to’) the shorthanded team when they are forced to change lines first? Your following statement outlines why it’s a further punishment, if the team would otherwise by changing last.

      • Rob...

        Gotcha. To be honest it slipped my mind that it’s a soft penalty and normally the penalized team wouldn’t be allowed to change. Interesting that they want to split intentional vs. unintentional for this but not the clearing attempts that result in the puck over the glass (delay of game) calls.

  • OilCan2

    OK fine. How about ENFORCING the face off rule? Your skates CANNOT touch the red hash marks. FIRST time GET TOSSED. SECOND TIME get 2 minutes. Have you ever seen the penalty called? Riiiiight,….

  • Clayton

    A variation around penalty kill icings that was experimented with when I played was only allowing the puck to be ‘iced’ once the defending team gets it out of their zone. So you could ice the puck from between your own blue line and centre ice. It generated more offence for sure and also changed how teams had to defend on the PK.

    • Ryan Jones Is Still My Hero

      3 pts for a regulation win, 2 pts for an OT win, 1 point for an OT loss, 0 pts for a regulation loss. All games are worth the same amount of points and teams have incentive to win in regulation instead of dragging it to OT. No clue why this isn’t discussed more.

  • Rudy27

    How about a rule change that allows the team awarded a penalty shot to decline and take the 2 minute man advantage. How many times have you seen a team playing short handed, get hooked or whatever on a breakaway, only to miss their penalty shot and moments later get scored on because they are still short handed! If you have a lead, you may want the two minutes instead of the penalty shot, or if you are behind late in the game, you may choose to take the shot.

  • Heschultzhescores

    How about a penalty for icing the puck too many times in a period. Like say after 3 you get a penalty for delay of game, because essentially that’s what you’re doing by icing the puck.