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THN Roundtable: What rule change would you like to see adopted next season?

While NHL GMs meet in Florida to discuss some potential rule changes, we have some suggestions of our own on how to improve the game.

NHL GMs are meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday, and as always, rule changes are a hot topic of discussion. As they do every year, the 31 GMs will meet to discus how to improve many aspects of the game, sometime in subtle ways, sometimes with outside-the-box ideas.

We have some ideas of our own, so here are some Blue Sky ideas of rule changes we want to see.

No icings on the penalty kill

When it comes to rule changes, I couldn’t care less about the vertical plane of a guy’s skate on offside calls or congestion on faceoffs. Yeah, those things are important, but they’re small potatoes when it comes to getting back some of the offense that has been choked from the game. This is going to take drastic thinking, so if I could change one rule right now it would be to repeal the proviso that allows teams to ice the puck with impunity when they’re killing a penalty. And if they do ice the puck, as is the case on all icings, they would not be allowed to make a change in personnel. Think of how much more damaging the best power plays in the league would be. Think of the exciting offensive chances it would create with some of the best offensive players in the world playing with a man advantage over four tired penalty killers. Think of how much more valuable smart, elite penalty killers would be. Why does the league have this rule on the books in the first place? Because it’s the National House League, that’s why. (Ken Campbell)

Three-point system

A new standings system in which a victory earns a team three points, an overtime or shootout win is valued at two and a loss in extra time is worth a single and nothing is handed out for a loss would help break up the ridiculous level of parity the league currently has. It would help clear up the playoff picture, create more separation between teams and a three-point system would also add a new wrinkle to game strategy. 

In the current system, we’ve seen teams sit back in the final minutes of a regulation, preferring to take their chances in overtime rather than leave the game empty handed. But a three-point system would incentivize playing all-out no matter how much time is remaining on the clock. One game can have a bigger impact in the standings, which would cause some teams to play for regulation wins over overtime wins, especially those clubs chasing a team higher in the standings. 

Traditionalists balk at the idea, but team point records matter far less than individual scoring feats, and if a three-point system helps clear up the current mess, it’s worth considering. It’s not as if the system hasn’t been battle tested for hockey, either. The Olympics uses the three-point system, as does the KHL. (Jared Clinton)

Kill the Trapezoid

I understand why the experiment was implemented in the first place, but the trapezoid's time has passed. Marty Brodeur is retired and even with other active netminders who can play the puck, there are many more that handle it like a grenade. You want more offense? Give goalies more leeway - I guarantee more than a few will muck it up, with very entertaining consequences. Plus, speed is the name of the game now. No trapezoid could mean even faster breakouts when done effectively. (Ryan Kennedy)

No more loser point

Plain and simple, the loser point needs to go. It does nothing but create confusion ("points" percentage?!) and placates the fan bases of bad teams (only five teams are below .500 if just looking at wins and losses). 

The idea that this system creates parity is a mirage: the separation between eight and 13th in the East is currently five points. In a 2-0 system, it would be six. In the West, six points separate eighth and 11th. With no loser point, it's just eight. Yes it's slightly closer, but it's harder to make up ground when teams ahead of you are able to grab a bonus 15 percent of the time (as is the average this season).

I've long been in favor of the simple 2-0 system, but even a 3-2-1 will do. Just give us any system that awards the same number of points in each game and rids us of this current debacle. (Edward Fraser)

Score by any means necessary

Want to increase scoring? Let players use their feet, heads, whatever. It may sound blasphemous to allow a goal to be scored with anything but a stick, but scoring is at an all-time low and there are certainly creative ways skilled players nowadays could get the puck in the net. If Patrick Kane is driving to the net and is all tied up, I have no problem with him taking a pass and putting it into the net with a "distinct kicking motion." There's skill in that. Likewise, remember when Daniel Sedin head-butted a puck into the zone? If the opportunity arrises, he should be able to do the same thing and put it into the net. Hands, I think, have to remain off limits -- we don't want guys grabbing and chucking pucks at the net. 

The most common argument against not allowing kicking is the safety of goalies, but come on. We're not talking about guys stomping down on a goalie's (very well protected) hand during a scramble. This is about making a skilled move on what is usually a desperation play. As long as there's still skill involved, let's get the puck in the net by any means necessary. (Ian Denomme)


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