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If the NHL was going to change one rule this season, this is the one they need to change now.
When the NHL introduced the new punishment for icing infractions (where the offending team may not change players until the puck is put back into play), teams immediately began trying to find loophole ways of getting a few extra seconds of rest to lessen the impact of the penalty.
We've all seen the goaltender suddenly have to make a quick trip to the bench to have a screw tightened in his helmet just moments after his team ices the puck after a long shift in the defensive zone, and yes, we all know that in all reality, there was probably nothing wrong with that screw in the first place.
However, coaches have gotten in on the act in what I think is one of the most cheapshot tactics in the entire sport of hockey, and thus needs to be punished.
Go back to Game 2 of the 2011 Western Conference semifinals series between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings, which was delayed for close to five minutes after an icing call when it was discovered the Red Wings had managed to discretely change one player, and Sharks' coach Todd McClellan rightly raised an issue with the officials.
However, this caused a mass of confusion as to which players Detroit should have had out and froze the game for an extended period of time.
The delay essentially negated the icing call because while the officials and coaches tried to figure out which Red Wings should have actually been the ones on the ice, the entire team was standing around resting.
By the time the puck dropped, nobody was even breathing hard, completely eliminating the entire punishment from the infraction, and likewise eliminating the Sharks' offensive advantage.
Proposed Change: If a team is found to have changed or is caught attempting to change a player after icing the puck, they need to be penalized.
I have two options in mind.
The first is the offending team is assessed a two-minute delay-of-game bench minor penalty, to be served by a player on the ice when the penalty is called.
The second is the offending team immediately forfeits their timeout. If they are unable to do so having already used their timeout, they are assessed a two-minute delay-of-game penalty.
I'm sick of teams either cheating and breaking the rule by changing players and not getting caught, or unrightfully giving themselves rest by breaking a rule and requiring its correction.
Thus, I'm calling for this cheapshot tactic to end immediately.
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