It may be an ant pushing a puck, but at least it’s gliding in the right direction.
The Board of Governors’ approval of recommended rule changes falls under the tinkering category, but the moves are focused on adding more goals, while improving or maintaining player safety. In other words, it’s all good – worthy of a polite golf clap.
In case you missed it, here’s the summary:
• Faceoffs following minor penalty calls will take place in the defending zone of the offending team, regardless of where play stops when the infraction is assessed. This should result in more offensive-zone pressure for teams on the power play, which by extension will likely mean a slight bump in power play goals.
• Faceoffs after a puck goes out of play upon hitting the post or crossbar will be in the attacking zone. We don’t envision this having a significant impact, but it’s the logical consequence of the action –teams shouldn’t be penalized for near misses.
• Dangerous or unnecessary contact on races for the puck could result in a penalty. The application of this rule isn’t 100 percent clear, but we’re assuming the referee will have the discretion to discipline a player for engaging in any non-incidental contact when trying to secure or nullify an icing. This should eradicate most injuries – not that there’s an epidemic – on races for the puck.
The wild card, of course, is the promise to shrink goaltending gear. We’re probably a year away from any real change, but this may have the largest impact. The league will work to diminish the size of netminders, while still providing optimum protection. From what we’re led to believe, if this doesn’t produce the desired results, larger nets will get serious consideration.
In other news and views (as we try to manage our fleeting attention span):
News: CBC loses the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme to CTV. Views: It’s remarkable what affects us. For many, the song reminds us of our childhoods and more innocent times, serving as a melodic comfort blanket. We get it. But this isn’t the day the music died. The tune would have lived on even if the rival network didn’t swoop in and grab it once CBC announced negotiations with the rights-holder had broken off. It’s online, so if you really need it at 7 p.m. on Saturday nights, queue up the track and hit play when the Hockey Night show begins. We trust, however, we’ll all get over this much more quickly than some anticipate.
News: The NHL Players’ Association hires Glenn Healy as Director of Player Affairs. Views: Healy, a sharp hockey mind, has long been a staunch union man and Bob Goodenow supporter. In other words, if labor unrest is brewing, the PA has another experienced hawk in its midst.
News: The Islanders are considering bringing back Alexei Yashin. Views: No. Way. It reminds me of the story of the man who hits himself in the head with a hammer because he likes how it feels when he stops.
News: Scott Niedermayer asks for, and is granted, an extension on his deadline for deciding whether to return to the Ducks. Views: Does anyone like summer reruns?
News: New Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson holds up his Canadian passport at his introductory news conference. Views: Wilson will wish he had a Tahitian one by about mid-January.
Jason Kay is the editor of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog normally appears every weekend.
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