Wow this has been a dead week for Rangers’ hockey, huh? No more Juniors Camp. No news on Marc Staal. No signings of any kind. Even Sean Avery has been quiet.
Well the big news in NHL hockey is the recent rule changes they’re trying out at the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp Fueled By G Series. This wouldn’t be the NHL if something wasn’t sponsored. I’m just waiting for hits to be sponsored: “That hit by Boogaard on Clarkson was sponsored by Youtube. Because the more hits you have, the more you’re noticed!”
The NHL is becoming radical with these new ideas and changes. And this camp isn’t exactly new either. The NHL did a camp just like this in 2005 as well to test the new rule changes after “The Lockout”. Now there’s a lot of these rules and they’re not exactly listed easily for anyone to find either, so please bare with me. I’ve been looking these rule changes up and researching on my own for a couple of days now and well, here’s a list of all of the proposed ides.
**Remember, these rules aren’t definite, the NHL is just looking at them in practice.
- Overtime: This involves a couple of variations. To start off, as normal, once the overtime period begins, the teams will play 4-on-4 hockey. But, the teams will switch sides so that they will experience the long line changes that they do in the 2nd period, AND this will only occur for three minutes rather than five. Why? Because after those three minutes, they’ll switch to 3-on-3, and after another three minutes of no goals, down to a 2-on-2. This is combat the shootout. Many GM’s do not like the shootout and feel that teams have tried to just defend in the five minutes of overtime, just to get to the shootout. Now as fans, we all love the shootout. But the General Managers feel as though the 4-on-4 is going no where. Teams are playing conservatively just to get to the bench to study the vital video on the habits of the opposing team. Fans love the shootout, GM’s, not so much. The idea commonly floating around the internet is that the 2-on-2 will not stick, but the 3-on-3 is a very viable option. Could be interesting. I still feel as though you’re going to see teams be even more defensive. You might see a fraction more goals before the shootout with the long line changes, but no real difference.
- Face-off: A few ideas are being tossed around here centered around the face-off. Pun intended.
- No Drop Face-off: Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s VP of Hockey and Business Development, has said that many GM’s have come complaining about players cheating the face-off. So one idea around that is the no-drop face-off. The puck is placed on the ice and the two centers go after the puck at the tweet of the official’s whistle. I like this idea as it seems to regulate and make the face-off less controversial.
- Face-off Kick Out: Another new idea is that if a player has violated the face-off and is kicked out, the opposing center gets to choose who he wants to take the face-off against. To me, this sounds ridiculous and just a waste of time. “Well, Pavel Datsyuk, this is your chance to pick! Who will it be? Will it be the left winger? ::cue player skating around, posing, strutting his stuff::: Will it be the Nick Boynton?…” Just unnecessary.
- Offensive Face-Off: The face-off dots will be moved from the corners of the rink to the slot to make it more nerve-racking for the defending team/goalie. This is of course to trigger more scoring, because if you haven’t realized it by now, the NHL wants you to see more goals. MORE GOALS!! GOALS!!!!
- Three Face-Off Circles: Total. Going along with the offensive face-off rule. One face-off dot in each zone, all in the middle of the ice.
- Faceoff Penalty Variation: If one of the players in the face-off is deemed to have committed an infraction, he will stay in the face-off, but be forced to move his skates behind a penalty line, and thus, lose leverage during the face-off.
- Hybrid Icing: Automobile sponsorship anyone? To quote from NHL.com,
Hybrid icing is a mixture of touch and no-touch icing. It gives a linesman the discretion to blow his whistle and stop the play if he believes a defending player will reach the puck first. If the linesman believes the attacking player has a chance to reach the puck first, he keeps his whistle in his pocket and lets the race to the puck play out. The linesman always will side with the defending player and blow his whistle if he feels the race is a tie by the time the players reach the faceoff dots.
Everyone wants to see this. I mean if you don’t like college hockey’s no-touch icing then you’re crazy and love wasting seconds of precious hockey play.
- No Line Change after committing an Offsides: Kind of self-explanatory. If it’s intentional I can see this, but I feel like losing the momentum and having to stop then faceoff outside the offensive zone is punishment enough. I wouldn’t be upset if this was put into action.
Another variation of this, involves the same rule PLUS now the faceoff is moved to the offending team’s end. This is well beyond punishment now. If a player goes offsides with theses rules in effect, watch him be benched for the next 2-3 games. Crazified rules.
- Crease Reset Rule: If an attacking player is in the crease, or the goaltender has been interfered with that prevents him from defending his net, the play is blown dead and a faceoff will be conducted in the neutral zone. Meh. Only “meh”, because I feel the officials already coddle the goaltenders too much sometimes.
- Speaking of the crease, another rule change is increasing the size of the crease by three inches. Didn’t we just do this? Huge in the 90’s, we changed the lines inside, then made it smaller, then rounder, now bigger. Can we leave the crease alone for a decade? Is that possible?
- Five Man Shootout: Once again, self-explanatory. The move from a three-man shootout to a five-man shootout isn’t much of a jump, but you know damn well that the fans will love this simple rule change.
Another idea with the shootout, sticking with three players, but when moving to sudden death, a player is allowed to shoot more than once if the coach wants.
- Shallow Nets: The NHL is toying with the idea of reducing the depth of the net by four inches to increase ice space behind the net for more play, including wrap-arounds.
- Red Mesh: Changing the mesh from white to red is an idea to increase the visibility of the nets, so that they don’t blend in with the boards behind them.
- Thinner Mesh On Top: This is to aid in the goal reviews from the overhead camera angle.
- Verification Line: A yellow line in the net, three inches behind the goal line to be used during reviews to make sure the puck has crossed the line. Can’t they already do that? Yes, they can, but if the puck crosses the yellow line, then it is obviously a goal without question.
- Blue Line: An interesting idea is making the blue lines thicker/wider so that it will increase the size of the offensive zones and making the neutral zone smaller. Why? GOALS!!!!
- Line Change Zone: To make the “Too Many Men On The Ice” penalty less controversial, there will be a five foot shaded area in front of the benches.
- Second Referee Off Ice Surface: This of course, could be good and bad. Good because he’ll be able to have the picture on a larger scale and see things he wouldn’t be able to see on the ice. But therein lies the bad, the referee is not on the ice so they don’t always have the right vantage points or perspective of the game.
- No Icing the puck Shorthanded: I think this is cruel, and already adding insult to injury, but the idea is being practiced right now in camp. Also, this will throw off previous stats to statistics taken after this rule is truly implemented. Goals will increase in the bunches if this rule is enacted. GOALS!!!!
- Delayed Penalty Rule: To add to the shorthanded situation (if you even get there with this rule), not only does a team who committed a penalty have to touch the puck to end play, but with this rule, they’ll now have to clear the puck out of their zone. This involves a few “if’s”. So does this rule not apply if your team commits a penalty and touches the puck in the offensive or neutral zones? Also, what if they ice the puck to clear their zone? Is that icing? Is that another penalty?
So that’s all the new rule change ideas proposed and being practiced at the NHL’s RDO Camp. Once again, remember, these rules are not definite, the NHL is just looking at them in practice.
Also, I’d like to apologize for the delay in posting. I had a someone visiting me for awhile. Plus, I’ve been working on this piece for a little while. I’m going to implement that “Where Are They Now?” idea soon. I’m thinking Beuuuuuuuuukeboom first. What do you think?
More good news, I’m grooming someone else to be a writer here. Hopefully he joins soon, as he is a smart kid and loves his Rangers.