The recently completed GMs meetings in Florida produced a mixed message when it comes to offense in the NHL: do they want more or less of it?
Of all the concepts the execs examined, the two generating the most buzz were smaller goalie gear and one-minute penalties in OT.
Shrinking the goalies, in theory, would beget more goals. One-minute sentences in extra time would reduce power play time and, by logical extension, goal-scoring.
Neither concept excites me – at least, not it a good way.
Yes, the savers should be shaved to the bare essentials; their gear should be all about protection of their body parts, not protection of the net. But it sounds like we’re talking nickel and dime stuff; a few centimeters here and there. I’m skeptical it would generate any noticeable change in offense.
As for the idea of 60-second jail terms, we can only hope this gets rejected as definitively as sirloin at a vegan conference.
Why would we give defenders added incentive to clutch, grab and prevent goals, while diminishing the amount of time teams spend on the PP?
The thought process behind the suggestion is backwards; that is, overtime is so precious that an infraction during the extra frame should only be weighted at half the value we give it during regulation. It’s the same mindset that gives us reduced suspensions in the playoffs compared to the regular season because the stakes are higher in post-season.
The time of game, time of season or time of day shouldn’t be a factor in length of punishment. Baseball doesn’t give hitters four strikes in extra innings; football doesn’t make pass interference calls half the yardage in OT; and basketball players don’t get a clean foul slate in added time.
Please, please, please let’s leave this rule as is.
Either way, if you’re of the opinion the league needs more offense, the GMs meetings provided scant optimism.
ONE MINUTE FOR OVER-THE-GLASS?
While we’re on rule changes, I have to strongly disagree with my longtime co-worker Brian Costello about the over-the-glass by-law.
Last week on THN.com, he passionately argued to maintain the status quo. He opined that many infractions are accidental, but that doesn’t mean we should let players get away with excuse-me trips or careless high sticks.
For me, though, it’s a case of excessive punishment. An errant Brian Campbell clearing attempt in a deciding playoff game is judged to be just as heinous as a deliberate elbow or holding back an opponent from a scoring chance or abusing an official?
Perhaps this is where a one-minute penalty should come into play, both in regulation time and OT. Or, as I’ve argued before, make the consequence the same as icing: No line change for the defense.
As it stands in the NHL’s penal code, the punishment for shooting a puck into the stands is out of whack.
Jason Kay is the editor of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears every weekend.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
From now until the trade deadline (Feb. 26) The Hockey News is having a subscription sale. Click HERE to get $10 off our regular subscription price.