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