The NHL GMs are meeting today in Toronto, for their annual conference on all things about the game. Usually out of these meetings we get suggestions for future rule changes, which are then sent to the Board of Governors for further discussion and possible approval. While they are at it, here are some suggestions for four rule changes we’d like to see going forward:
1) Coach’s Challenge: The potential for a coach’s challenge is expected to be a big topic of discussion at the meetings. My colleague, Russell McKenzie, has already gone more in-depth on the issue. I’ll follow that up by saying that the game is quite simply too fast, and there is too much going on for referees to be able to make every call accurately right now. There are far too many mistakes, whether they are on goals (goalie interference being the key issue), offsides (see Matt Duchene’s goal), penalties (see Travis Zajac’s penalty vs the Rangers last night, or PK Subban’s high sticking penalty that shouldn’t have been in OT last night), embellishment, or other important calls. Put in a coach’s challenge to ensure that teams are able to review the call when a key one goes against them. Getting things right at the most important times should be the objective. Sure there will need to be limits, and perhaps like an illegal stick challenge a two minute penalty for a coach who gets it wrong. Undoubtedly there would also need to be a list of the type of plays that can and can’t be challenged. This definitely needs to happen.
2) Overtime: The NHL has already admitted that it feels the shootout was becoming too important in deciding games and final standings, and modified their tie-breakers by discounting shootout wins. The use of ROW (regulation and overtime wins) already admits that there are some issues with the current system. Here is my suggestion; lets expand overtime in the regular season. We can have 5 minutes of 4 on 4 overtime, followed by 5 minutes of 3 on 3. This change will create an extra five minutes of exciting wide open hockey to try and settle a game before we get to the penalty shots.
3) 3-Point Games: I still believe it is an issue that every game is not worth the same amount of points. Games that are won in regulation see two points awarded to the winner, while games that are decided in overtime see an extra point given to the loser. This means that some games are worth more in the standings than others. Why not use the system that the IIHF uses during their tournaments? Three points for a regulation win, two points for a shootout or OT win, one point for a shootout or OT loss, and nothing for a regulation loss. Let’s reward the teams that win games in regulation, and give them an extra point for their efforts.
4) The Trapezoid: Following the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the NHL instituted a new rule prohibiting goaltenders from playing the puck in certain areas of the ice. Funny little trapezoids were drawn on the ice behind the nets and NHL goaltenders were not allowed to play pucks behind the goal line and in the corners (or face a two minute delay of game penalty). The rule was meant to create more forechecking and more goal scoring opportunities, but there is little evidence it is having its intended effect. In fact some might argue that it is the opposite and allowing goalies to play more pucks creates more turnovers and scoring chances. Also, let’s allow the teams with goalies who are good puck handlers be allowed to take advantage of all of their players’ skills.
What do you guys think? Feel free to leave your comments on these suggestions, or any other rule changes you’d like to see below.
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