You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. Photo courtesy Chris Johnson / Canadian Press

Rules And Regulations

Sometimes, things change. It’s an inevitable part of life, and our great game is no exception. And, over the last decade or so, our game has undergone some pretty substantial changes – with mixed results. And guess what? There are some pretty hilarious ones that have come up at this year’s NHL development camp. Let’s all point and laugh at some of the highlights (lowlights?) after the jump.

Alright, where do I begin?

One thing I can get behind is the “line change zone” that’s near the bench in that photo above.  It’s simple, it doesn’t change the overall way the game is played, and it’ll help out with too many men penalties.  It’s a win win for everyone.

That faceoff circle is ridiculous.  One of the proposed rule changes would allow for three of those suckers to be placed on the ice – one in each end, and one at centre ice.  I suppose out of all of these proposed rules changes, this wouldn’t be a back breaker, although having three of those suckers on the ice would look ridiculous.  How will this help the game?

Another proposed rule change would prohibit a team from making a substitution after incurring an offside infraction, and moving the ensuing faceoff to the offending team’s zone.  Already, there are no line changes for your squad if you ice the puck, and with this rule, there’ll be no changes if your squad goes offside.  Again, I can’t think of a valid reason to implement a rule like this.  Somehow, the league is analyzing this and saying that it will increase scoring, and they’re probably right as you’ll have some tired guys out there.

A proposal for a red net (instead of white) would give shooters a better target to see.  Again, this is more aesthetics than anything, and it may very well give shooters a bigger target to hit, but it’ll also be pretty gaudy.

I would be making an egregious error on my part if I didn’t bring up the proposed new overtime rule.  As you may or may not be well aware, I think the NHL’s current overtime scheme is a sham.  You’ve got the 3 point games creating chaos in the standings, you’ve removed the simplicity of ties, and you’ve got the shootout, which is great on a video game, but it creates a rinky-dink feeling for the NHL.  (Side note – the NHL is tinkering with overtime again because there’s TOO MANY SHOOTOUTS.  Way to create a monster.)

If after sixty minutes of play the game is tied, teams would play a couple of minutes at 4 on 4, then if there’s no goals scored the game ends in a tie there’s a couple of minutes at 3 on 3.  If there’s no winner after that, then the game ends in a tie then there’s a couple of minutes at 2 on 2.  And, if there’s no winner after all that, then the game ends in a tie there’s a shootout.  Oh, thank heavens.  Couldn’t escape all of that without a shootout now, could we?

To be fair, the two on two idea was all but shot down.  But man, could you imagine actually paying to see two on two?

There’s video of the proposed two on two format.  I believe we have some of it.  Let’s go to the tape!

Don Beaupre in an Ottawa Senators sweater kills me every time.

Lastly (but not least!) would allow the opposing team to pick a replacement player to take a faceoff after a faceoff violation.  So, if Horcoff is tossed from the circle, this means that, say… Joe Thornton could pick anyone on the ice at that time to take the faceoff against.  Would this include defencemen?  Could you imagine, say Strudwick or Chorney lining up against Thornton?  Would Rexall Place be able to put ‘Yakety Sax’ over the PA fast enough?

I’m thankful the league is at least trying new ideas out in an attempt to ‘improve the game’, as some ideas – like hybrid or no-touch icing aren’t the worst things in the world.  But you’ve got to look at who your audience is here – it’s not likely that you’re going to make new fans by widening the blue line, or making the nets bigger, or awarding bonus pucks, or whatever crazed ideas you have up your sleeve.

In 1994, the NHL’s popularity rivalled that of the NBA’s.  You had the New York Rangers winning a 7 game series against a talent-laden Vancouver Canucks squad in a league that didn’t have so many frivolous rules created.  Sixteen years later, we’ve got a trapezoid behind the net, we’ve shortened up the neutral zone to increase scoring, we’ve got a God-forsaken two minute penalty for a clearing attempt that inadvertently goes over the glass, you have to have your sweater tied down else it’s a game misconduct if it comes off during fisticuffs, there’s a ridiculous overtime rule that generates 3 point games…and shootouts.  Don’t forget those.

Are we better off today?

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Tags: NHL

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