The NHL was meeting this week to discuss many things as they do every year. The discussed bringing in a second team to Toronto, and of course what changes to the rules they could amend, delete, or create for the 2009-2010 campaign. This got me to thinking myself about what could be changed next year, and I am going to share with you a few of my ideas that may help the NHL out next year.
Rule #1: Penalties in Overtime
Now this rule would probably not be implemented a lot, because referees tend to put the whistles away for the five minute overtime unless it is a blatantly obvious penalty. However, I think that if a player has committed a penalty with less than two minutes left in a game, and it carries over to the overtime he should not be allowed to participate in the shoot-out.
This goes for overtime penalties as well. The player can finish the period, but can not be used in the shoot-out if it were to go that far. This goes for goalies as well. If they take any penalties as well they are not allowed to participate either, and their backup must come in for the shoot-out.
I think that this would really let the overtime period open up, and let players skate a lot more freely than what 4-on-4 hockey allows for.
Rule #2: Touch Up After Leaving Penalty Box
I really like this rule, because it does not penalize a team that has just been on a power-play for two minutes. The player that has just come out of the box has to tag up to his defensive blue line before he can break up the ice. I have seen way too many times when a player comes out of the box right when his team gets the puck, and he is long gone on a break-away.
I just do not think that it is really fair for that to happen considering that a team could have been just dominating a power-play for two minutes, and then one second after it is over the person that committed the penalty is off to the races the other way. That is why I like this rule, because it just makes that guy come back to the zone touch the blue line with his skates, and then he can turn back up ice.
Rule #3: Allowance Of Physical Play On Goaltenders
Now I was a goalie, and it was always nice to be able to give a player a shot in the back when he was in front of me, and then when he turned and gave me a shot he got called for interference (I know you offensive players out there probably hated me but hey rules are rules). I think that goalies should be allowed to be hit. I mean first of all they have so much padding on I think they could probably take a few rounds from an AK-47 and be alright.
Now I am not saying that a player can come around behind the net and just dump-truck a goalie into the boards. What I am saying though is that players should be allowed to give the goalie a good bump if he is behind the net to try to get the puck out of his control. This also means though that goalies can hit right back if you are coming at them, and word to the wise hitting a big target with a lot of mass can have its repercussions.
Rule #4: Automatic Icing
They use this rule in youth hockey, and even at higher levels of play. This rule would just call icing as soon as the puck crosses the goal-line, and play would stop. This would be a good rule change, because it would protect the player that is trying to touch the puck up for icing.
Even when that player gets to the puck first the majority of the time the player behind him is coming full speed and pretty much gets a free hit on the guy. This rule should be implemented to help protect any player that is going for a free puck on icing.
Rule #5: Point System
Me personally I hate the idea that even when a team loses in Overtime or a shoot-out they still receive one point. Now if the NHL wants to keep giving points to a team that loses in the extra time then they need to reward teams more for winning in the regular time, or overtime. You can give a team 3 points for winning in regulation, 2 for overtime, and 1 if they lose in overtime or shootout, and 0 for losing in regulation.
What I like though is just the 2 points for a win, and 0 for anything else. Yes a team worked hard to get to the extra time, but still you should not reward a team for not pulling out a victory. This is not youth hockey where everybody should be treated equally and each kid gets a trophy at the end of the season. This is the NHL, and teams that lose a game should not be deserving of a point, unless the NHL brings back ties.
Well those are my five rules that I would change, or implement for the 2009-2010 NHL season. If you agree or disagree with what I wrote let me know, and if you have any changes that you would want to see happen let me know as well.