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Four rule changes we'd like to see the NHL make

We asked four THN staffers what rule change they'd like to see made in the NHL. Here's what they came back with...
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

We asked four THN staffers what rule change they'd like to see made in the NHL. Here's what they came back with:

BIGGER NETS A couple decades ago, the notion of bigger nets was considered virtual treason. Today, it’s more akin to a parking fine. This idea to help inject more offense isn’t universally loved, but enough minds have been opened that it’s at least not a criminal offense to air it. Which stands to reason. Everything in the game has changed since the NHL was born a century ago, either via mandate or organically. Sticks are curved and no longer wooden. Goalies wear masks and are allowed to fall to the ice. And they’re mammoth, thanks to genetics and gear. Pick a facet of the game and it’s been altered – except for the 4 x 6 nets. Our shinny forefathers either got it perfect the first time or it’s time to consider expansion of another kind. If Vegas can get a team, why not bigger nets? –


FACEOFF PUCK-TOSS Is there a fan out there who likes it when a linesman stands up from his faceoff squat to signifying one of the centers is being thrown out of the circle? Here’s a new rule guaranteed to fix that time hog. Give each team one warning (or one center tossed from the faceoff dot) per period. From that point on, have the linesman throw the puck in the direction of the non-offending team. Immediately, you’ll see centers around the league line up straight and battle for the puck drop fairly.

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

And because of that, you’ll see fewer delays from centers who make a living by cheating. –


ICING ALL THE TIME The NHL was every bit as socialistic with rule changes nearly 80 years ago as it is today. The league implemented the icing rule in 1937 because, in the words of Boston Bruins GM Art Ross, “We want to stop purely defensive hockey. We want to give the public the most for its money.” But then he went on to say, “but we can’t tax players beyond their physical limits, nor make the game too strenuous for comparatively small squads.” And that led to the ridiculous caveat that allows teams killing a penalty to ice the puck with impunity. Think about it. Team A gets penalized for breaking the rules, and the sentence for that is playing a man short for two minutes or until the opposing team scores. Then, that sentence is mitigated by allowing the team to (you guessed it) break the rules legally while paying the price for illegally breaking the rules in the first place. Think of all the offense that would result from not allowing shorthanded teams to ice the puck. Take it a step further and don’t allow them to change players. Tired penalty killers who can’t throw the puck down the ice? That’s really paying the price for your sins. –


REFEREE IN THE PRESS BOX There’s nothing more infuriating than when the ref farthest from the action calls a penalty in a game (he’s often wrong). While there are benefits to the two-ref system, the confusion that sometimes arises when there’s more than one sheriff skating around is not one of them. But instead of reverting to the old days, why not just utilize an eye in the sky? Putting a referee in the press box would clear up any confusion on the ice and allow for a more accurate game to be called. Think about all the dirty things that happen away from the puck. All the cheap shots would be caught and too-many-men calls would be easier, too. Does it make the game more black-and-white? Absolutely, and only cheaters will complain. As for the practical aspect, there are simple technologies that would allow for communication with the on-ice ref – or the upstairs official could have a unique buzzer that would chime throughout the rink and stop play. (How cool would that be?) –


This feature appeared in the August 17 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.


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