The NHL's R & D Camp: Suggestions on Tweaking the Game

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 10: A referee handles the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Dallas Stars at the HSBC Arena on March 10, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There have been a number of topics and rule changes brought up during the NHL’s research and development camp this week which are worth looking at.

A number of general managers and coaches have indicated that they approve of some of these changes that have been introduced.

In no particular order these are:

-Bigger crease

-Crease reset rule

-Verification goal line (additional line situated behind the goal line)

-No icing the puck while shorthanded

-Hybrid icing rule

-No line change for team committing an offside

-Line changes in front of each bench

-Wider blue lines

-Face-off variation (face-off controlled by whistle in place of traditional puck drop)


-Face-off variations (infringement results in the offending player moving back further, three face-off dots down the middle of the ice)

-OT—three minutes of 4-on-4, three minutes of 3-on-3, three minutes of 2-on-2 with long line changes; followed by three shooters per team in the shootout (if tied after three shots, then players who have shot previously can shoot again)


-Overtime: three minutes of 4-of-4, three minutes of 3-on-3, three minutes of 2-on-2, followed by shootout (five players per team).


Let’s look at a few of these that make sense, others that would add to the game, and still others that would could end up being very discretionary in nature.

The bigger crease suggests to me that the goaltender is going to have to be a centre in the basketball’s height category just to see around the bodies. Not only that, but doesn’t it open the door for more goaltenders being interfered with and jostled around?

Does the NHL want middle line-backer type goalies just to be able to stand their ground and not get run over?

I like the hybrid icing rule that increases the safety element out of crashing into the boards and injuries that come with it. The official would be able to blow the whistle if the race to the puck is one sided.

Now that makes sense.

Line changes in front of each bench is going to take a couple sets of eyes to make sure that it takes place correctly, especially when you have six to eight players dashing for the change and just as many coming on.

Isn't this a recipe for chaos? Also, there was no mention on how close to the bench you would have to be.


Three face-off dots down the middle of the ice makes a lot of sense and opens up each side of the ice in the offensive zone. Being able to draw it back to either D-man at the points has the possibility of creating more offensive opportunities.

The shoot-out for many has been a thorn in the side to hockey purists since it was implemented. But this idea of over-time with a graduated reduction of players on the ice sounds exciting.

A three on three or even a two on two reminds me of pond hockey which brought about a plethora of scoring chances.

This would surely reduce the need for so many shoot-outs, which some teams seem to play for these days.

No icing the puck while short-handed reminds too much of the early days of Olympic hockey. Yes, it surely places the onus on the penalty kill team, but aren’t they being penalized already by having to play a man short?

To me, that rule would be like giving an automatic power play goal to the opposition. Besides that, wouldn’t you then have to introduce a rule to penalize the defending team if they iced the puck “x” number of times?

So which rule or change do you think would add to the overall enjoyment of the game?