Aside from the mayhem that is the free agency period, the offseason usually contains sawdust doughnuts filled with boredom.
Fret not, citizen. The Research and Development camp will take place in just over a week. You know, the one where the nets are supposed to get bigger and the faceoff dots are supposed to be faceoff triangles, and bonus pucks are added after six seconds of overtime?
Yeah, that’s the one.
Let’s take a sneak peek and see what’s good, and what should be left in the dressing room.
Again, these are RULE PROPOSITIONS. Everything is going to be tested, and as far as anyone knows, they’ll just stay tests. Some of these ideas are great. Others leave much to be desired.
First: rules I can get behind.
- No-touch icing: The Olympics are already using this one, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the NHL eventually follow suit. Out of all the rule changes that would drive me crazy, this is one that I can live with. If you’ve never heard the concept of ‘no-touch icing’ (I’ll assume you know what icing already is), the whistle is blown and play is dead when an icing infraction occurs. While it’s exciting to see a blue-liner race back into his zone against the opposite team’s speedy forward, too often there’s been a serious collision that occurs when the two players are both close to the puck. No-touch icing would eliminate the chance of injury on an otherwise harmless play. Again, I’d be sad to see the race for the puck go away, but I can at least understand why this rule would be adopted into the NHL.
- Elimination of the trapezoid: I hate the trapezoid. Hate, hate hate. There’s absolutely no good reason to prohibit goaltenders from playing the puck in the corners behind the net. None. The argument I hear is “But then the goalie is like a third defencemen…” So what? Good puckhandling goaltenders should be rewarded – not penalized for their ability to play the puck better than some defencemen. That sword works both ways: good puckhandling goalies should be rewarded. Goaltenders who need work on handling the puck won’t fare so well. Remember not long ago when some goalies wouldn’t even go in the corners (Tim Cheveldae is the first that comes to mind)? The times, they change so fast.
- Verification line: Let’s go to a video to see this one in action
The verification line is that yellow line you see at about the 00:10 second mark behind the red goal line . It’d be used to help determine whether or not a puck completely crossed the goal line on a goal that’s too close to call. (The yellow line is exactly the length of one puck behind the red goal line.) The big reason that I like it is that it doesn’t change the way the game is played. It’s a subtle change, nothing really over the top. Plus, it helps the off ice officials nail the call every time.
See? Those aren’t so bad. If you’ll proceed to the next page, you’ll find some experiments that I’d like to kill with fire.