The "New" NHL: Reactions to the Rule Changes

Ryan KuchelymaCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2008

It is now the third season of the so called "new" NHL, and I have mixed feelings about it.

On the positive side, the game has opened up and the smaller skilled players are able to show their skills. On the other hand the days of the big burly defenceman defending his net with authority and battling in the corners with his apponent are over.

I remember watching the playoffs last year and seeing all those penalties called when players were simply battling for the puck. Gone are the days when we used to see guys like Adam Foote or Scott Stevens use any means necessary to move opponents away from the front of their nets. Face washes, cross checks, battling for real estate in front of the net—are all gone.

The new NHL also gave birth to the overtime power play, something that never accured unless absolutely necessary. Now it is expected to see a penalty called in overtime.

It has also given the right for the opposition to dump the puck in the opponents end and take a run at the defenceman going to the retrieve the puck. His defence partner can no longer get in the way or obstuct the forward from taking a full run at his partner.

It has given birth to the one handed hooking penalty, a penalty that is called at least 6 times a game. Anyone who has ever played the game knows that you cannot bring a player down or slow him up with a one handed hook to the arm. Yet it is called every single game that takes place on the ice.

I agree with getting rid of the grabbing and clutching of players, as we have all noticed the big defenceman has been eliminated from the league. They are too slow and not agile enough to play in the NHL.

But if the NHL is trying to bring excitement to the game and bring it to bigger audiences. Then why slow the game down with all the whistles and penalties. It takes away the flow of the game and causes nothing but frustration for the viewer.

I love the game of hockey and always will, but when are they just going to leave the game alone and let the players play!