NHL to test proposed rule changes tomorrow and Thursday

By , August 17, 2010 3:10 pm
NHL experimenting with new rules...

NHL experimenting with new rules...

Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the NHL will be putting to test some proposed rule changes during the the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in Toronto. Some of the top prospects for the 2011 Entry Draft will be present, including current number one ranked prospect (by ISS) Sean Couturier of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL).

The NHL will test more than a dozen rules, including some face-off variations, a hybrid icing rule (hybrid of no-touch and touch icing) and a no-line changes for offsides rule (similar to the icing rule), amongst other rules.

Here’s a bit of info on some of the proposed rule changes being tested:

Icing changes: The “Hybrid” icing rule enables on-ice officials to whistle the play dead when they determine the race to an iced puck will be won by the defensive team, precluding a dangerous collision at the end boards. They will also give no-touch icing a look as well too. And finally, the league will test adding icing calls to teams that ice the puck while short handed (not a fan of this one… unless they allow that team to change lines still).

Face-off variations: one variation has the puck placed on the ice, with the draw commenced by a linesman’s whistle. Another variation states that face-off violators will be moved back from the dot for the drop of the puck rather than replaced by linemates. Another variation, the opposing center (i.e. not the violator) will be able to choose his subsequent face-off opponent (they can choose any of the forwards/defensemen).

Overtime change: overtime will proceed from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 to 2-on-2 to a shootout. Teams will also switch ends after overtime, requiring the longer second-period line change that often results in odd-man rushes and goals.

Referee changes: the NHL will test moving one of the officials off ice. They will watch the game from somewhere outside of the ice surface (the press box maybe?) and be able to make calls. Interesting idea. Big brother is watching you…

Offside changes: the NHL will test out not allowing line changes after an offside. They will also test a defensive zone start (a la icing call) for teams that commit an offside infraction.

Delayed penalties: play won’t be whistled dead until the offending team gets the puck out of its zone.

Rink/Other changes: a bigger crease, wider blue lines, painted line-change zones in front of each bench, face-off dots down the middle of the ice and a second “verification goal line” behind the goal line will be among the visual changes. Also different mesh on nets and padding on the partitions at the end of the glass (i.e. the “turnbuckle”) at the benches will be tested.

UPDATE:
More changes being tested that I missed in the original post, per TSN:
– Altering the ice surface to have three faceoff dots, one in each zone, down the centre of the rink.
– Placing red mesh in the nets rather than white.
– Narrowing the shallowness of the net by four inches to create more ice behind the net and enable more wrap-around attempts
– Having five players from each team participate in the shoot Out and they shall proceed in such order as the coach selects. If it’s tied at the end of the shootout, it goes to sudden death shooting and no one shall shoot twice until all eligible shooters have shot

26 Responses to “NHL to test proposed rule changes tomorrow and Thursday”

  1. Racki says:

    Some of these changes are just wacky. Picking your own faceoff opponent? That one is just weird.. it is too much of an advantage too, as it can take a guy out of his position (i.e., imagine being able to pull their strongest defensemen away from the front of the net for a few seconds).

  2. gr8one says:

    Yea, mosdef some bizarre stuff there.

  3. chucker says:

    Who comes up with this nonsense? Defensive end zone start for offside? WTF is that?

    Pick your own faceoff opponent? Are we now going into Thunderdome? Come on. Just leave the game alone.

    If anything they should change lots of the rules back to the way they were years ago.

    Get rid of the trapezoid, no touch icing (new but needed IMO), 2 minutes is two minutes despite number of goals scored, no instigator, extra two men on roster.

    What a bunch of crap from the NHL….as usual.

    Not sure I’m a fan of the off-ice (presumably) official. Is the extra guy on the ice a hinderance? What’s the thinking here? How do players get to talk to the official making the call? Lots of stuff goes uncalled, but that’s not because the officials are not able to see it. I’m not sure of the advantage here.

  4. Racki says:

    lol @ Thunderdome…

    “Uhm… I pick the mute kid that acts like a fuckin’ monkey to faceoff versus me.”

    I like the hybrid rule for no-touch icing… good idea there. And agreed, ditch the trapezoid and instigator.

    I’d also say lose the 3-point games (or at least the 2 point sometimes and 3 points other times). Make it consistent. Always 2 points, always 3 points.. always 39 1/2 points for a win of any sort.. I don’t care.. just make every game equal points.

  5. Max says:

    Too many game stoppers here. Get rid of the trapezoid, stop the crease interference, no goalie contact allowed at all in the crease, hybrid icing ok, no offside changes, whistle to face off ok, but no picking faceoff opponent (duh). Let’s see less referee control and more flow to the game. 3 face off circles ok but why change?

    New rule: Player that injures another player and is assessed a penalty cannot return to game until injured player returns. If injured player misses 5 games, so does perpetrator. Intent to injure automatically costs $100,000 donated to minor hockey league, not NHL purse.

  6. Racki says:

    I do like the idea of stiffer penalties for injuring a player, but sometimes shit just happens. It would get a bit too subjective for me to decide who should be out for as long as the guy they injured, and who should simply just be given a suspension of X games. Although suspensions really are subjective, to begin with.

    I think that would make for just way too harsh of a penalty, and I’d be scared that it would hinder the rough stuff too much. Hockey’s a tough sport and a man’s sport. There’s some risk that you’re going to get clobbered, and guys get paid well for that risk. I like the idea in concept, but it would just be a bit harsh because for one, it doesn’t take into consideration luck… bad and good. Good luck in the sense that a guy could have been killed on a play but somehow came out with a scratch.. or bad luck in the sense that a guy shouldn’t have been badly hurt, but maybe fell awkwardly and hurt himself much more than the hit would normally cause.

  7. Draekke says:

    ^^ not too mention players who are prone to injury already. Body check a guy into the boards and his bad shoulder pops, so you are out for 10 games? Ya, no.

  8. mrgod2u says:

    Agree on the trapezoid, agree on the hybrid icing, strongly agree on the off-ice official. A Soccer style of 3 points for a regulation win would be good too. So there are 3 points total up for grabs in a game, if you win it in OT the points go 2-1 winner/loser.

    The rest is just fluff and crap.

  9. Trogdor says:

    I always thought soccer was a bit odd in that a win is 3, but a tie is a point a piece. Opposite of the unbalance points than the NHL.

    As for some of the other ideas, I’d have to see them in action to make a decision, but I’d say yay to hybrid icing calls, and nay to 2 on 2 in OT. That’s essentially a shootout anyways.

    A puck sensor would be good too, but would put the dude behind the net out of a job. His children would have to start going to public school.

  10. Racki says:

    I think most of the net judges are gone anyways. Steve-O and I talked about it recently, and that guy seems to be a carnival operator at best… turning on flashing lights for the crowd, and that’s about it. They have no impact in stopping play apparently.

    A puck sensor would be nice if they can do it for minimal cost. That would be the ultimate solution. Jesus guys, lets invent this thing and the software and sell it to the NHL and make a killing. Really, how hard could it be? I’m surprised it doesn’t already exist.. really surprised.

  11. Ktown says:

    Actually, Racki – microsensor and microdot technology is starting to expand. You can actually “spray” micro dots on your vehicles, boats, computers, etc. for tracking in the case of theft, etc.

    I heard on the radio (Monday) that the NFL is looking at micro-dot/sensor technology for the balls. It will enable them to accurately spot the ball between plays, and the obvious “break the plane of the goal-line” arguments.

    Apparently FIFA took a look and rejected it.

    I don’t think it will be too long before we see the NHL give it a test. However, it could be interesting, because unlike the NFL (break the plane) in the NHL that puck has to be 100% across the line. That could make it a little more difficult – eg. Does the sensor go off if the puck is a certain length behind the line (indicative of full puck – but doesn’t take into account spinning pucks or pucks standing on end)? Or, does the system have to register every single microdot across (whoo boy… better have a good tracking system – that’s gonna be a lot of information flowing)?

  12. Ktown says:

    RE: Max’s injury/penalty/suspension rule.

    I’ve been in favor of something like this for awhile. I think the thing is, this should only be an automatic if the offending player is assessed a MAJOR penalty.

    Typically, major penalties carry the definition of “intent to injure” based on the referee’s assessment of the violence and injury sustained (don’t quote me, I haven’t re-upped to ref this season, and it’s been awhile since I read the rule book).

    With a major penalty the assessment has been made on ice, and it’s out of the hands of the disciplinary committee. Just an automatic game-for-game suspension.

    When only a minor penalty is called on the play, I think the question should go before the disciplinary panel for review, just as it does now. If they feel the suspension is warranted, they can either institute the game-for-game suspension, or determine another appropriate action.

    I don’t by any means think this is a perfect solution, but I think the current situation is far less perfect. This doesn’t take away from the physicality of the game as its only an immediate suspension assuming the major penalty. Given the rarity of refs calling majors these days, it’s probably a little toothless anyways, but it does add a much needed SIGNIFICANT deterrent to guys taking blindside cheapshots, etc.

    As for the injury-prone players, I think this takes away some of that issue as well. If an offending player is taking a major anyways, the likelihood is an injury way happening one way or another. If it’s an injury-prone player going down with a marginal call or a minor call, well then it’s up to Campbell and his boys…

    The other thing to remember (shit, this post is getting long, sorry) is that this game-for-game suspension only really starts to become huge if the victimized player is out for more than a few weeks… That’s a significant injury at that point, and that’s when these dirty plays/suspensions need to be matched. A major penalty/game-for-game/and a recovery period of 5 days will likely only mean 3 or 4 games missed for the offending player. (NOTE: I’d cap the game-for-game at a “remainder of the season, including playoffs” for long terms)

  13. Racki says:

    Ktown: Actually, Racki – microsensor and microdot technology is starting to expand. You can actually “spray” micro dots on your vehicles, boats, computers, etc. for tracking in the case of theft, etc.I heard on the radio (Monday) that the NFL is looking at micro-dot/sensor technology for the balls. It will enable them to accurately spot the ball between plays, and the obvious “break the plane of the goal-line” arguments.Apparently FIFA took a look and rejected it.I don’t think it will be too long before we see the NHL give it a test. However, it could be interesting, because unlike the NFL (break the plane) in the NHL that puck has to be 100% across the line. That could make it a little more difficult – eg. Does the sensor go off if the puck is a certain length behind the line (indicative of full puck – but doesn’t take into account spinning pucks or pucks standing on end)? Or, does the system have to register every single microdot across (whoo boy… better have a good tracking system – that’s gonna be a lot of information flowing)?

    I’m no rocket scientist, but I think they should be able to put the dots on a few points of the puck (ex. every 90 degrees of the sides, one on top one on bottom center – btw, this isn’t the real solution.. just my solution after thinking for a few seconds on it.. so it might be completely wrong) to be able to determine the angle the puck is at when it crosses. Then using some sort of power glove technology and VR glasses, a goal judge would swim through the internet and hack a bunch of blocks away until they determined if it was a goal or not. OK, I made up that last sentence… but seriously, with a small amount of dots (maybe 6?) they should be able to figure out exact puck location and angle based on the standard dimensions of a puck. A computer should be able to extrapolate the remainder of the puck location just based on where a few of the dots are. So you wouldn’t need to completely cover this thing. Hell, you might even just need 3 dots or something. Like I said… I’m not putting a lot of thought into it, but I can say with some certainty it wouldn’t take that many.

    Edit: At most they need six dots, I believe. They could map a 3-dimensional set of points I believe by having dots at 90 degree points and the top/bottom, and then extrapolate where the remainder of the puck is from there… and then determine if it’s completely past the goal line or not.

  14. Racki says:

    On the note of suspensions… I just can’t get on board with it being a 1-to-1 thing. Too many other factors involved.

    For me, I’d love to see the instigator tossed, for starters, and allow players to police themselves a bit more. And tell Colin Campbell to just be a bit stiffer with some of his suspensions.

  15. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Regarding the suspension rule idea: The biggest problem I have with having a player out the same number of games as the injured player is that some players are just more valuable to their team. What happens if a star player injures a 4th line player that barely sees the ice. The injured party might not be in a hurry to return to the lineup if they know that they are taking a star player off a rival team. So we might have a guy like Liam Reddox get pasted into the boards by Henrik Sedin…do the Oilers rush Reddox back into the lineup or do we allow him the entire season to recover? An exaggeration, but that is my point.

  16. Racki says:

    And a good one it is, Mr. M…

  17. Racki says:

    Original post has been updated with some things I missed:

    – Altering the ice surface to have three faceoff dots, one in each zone, down the centre of the rink.

    – Placing red mesh in the nets rather than white.

    – Narrowing the shallowness of the net by four inches to create more ice behind the net and enable more wrap-around attempts

    – Having five players from each team participate in the shoot Out and they shall proceed in such order as the coach selects. If it’s tied at the end of the shootout, it goes to sudden death shooting and no one shall shoot twice until all eligible shooters have shot

  18. Racki says:

    So I have a question for you folks… I’m a hockey purist, through and through.. so as such, I think this one is a touchy subject in a way because it affects the “sanctity of the game”.

    Sticks have gotten more powerful over the years. Hockey equipment in general has had to change to keep up, to be able to protect players. Goalies complain that they need the bigger gear to protect themselves from the added danger.

    What are your thoughts on expanding the net size? I’m not talking soccer-net expansion.. maybe a few inches. I’d MUCH MUCH MUCH prefer to see goalie equipment size reduced back to how it used to be, if that’s possible (i.e. if it still offers the protection they need). I kind of wonder how true the thought that goalies need that extra size is though. There are definitely more guys now that can shoot a laser of a shot, but there were guys in the 80s (McInnis, Iafrate, etc.) shooting over 100 mph with a wood stick.

    I thought I’d throw that question out there, given that they’re testing rule changes. For me, I’d much rather see goaltending equipment reduced, if it still keeps them safe. That would be my #1 priority for increasing offense. Changing net size just seems wrong to me, but I figured I’d throw it out there. I would be a BIT OK with it if they just couldn’t get goalies to reduce their gear size though, as era comparisons are now impossible due to gear differences alone.

  19. chucker says:

    ABSOLUTELY NO ON NET SIZE CHANGES. /end rant ;)

  20. mrgod2u says:

    I think the net-size/goalie equipment is ok right now, there are lots of goals being scored, goalies already have their value reduced due to teams winning cups without superstar goalies… They are rarely if ever a first round pick any more, and there seems to be no shortage of them on the FA market at any time. How muck less relevant should they be?

    As to the sensor in a puck thing… I am all for it. That said, it is hardly a slam-dunk technology-wise. the reason FIFA decided to not use it was it was still only about 95% accurate (given this was 4 years ago). But the trials of the technology declared goals that were clearly not goals when checked in replay by multiple camera angles. Although the decision was also based on not wanting to change the “purity of the game”. So evidently ridiculous calls costing teams chances at the world cup are part of the magic…

    Part of the issue may have been also the size of net/ball being used to determine whether it had crossed the plane, which would be less of an issue in hockey with the smaller net opening.

    If people want to try and create a system for this I would love to take a whack at it, although I would be surprised if a patent didn’t already exist.

  21. Racki says:

    I just can’t see how it would be that difficult in this age, depending on cost of these dots (which I think Ktown said was apparently not an issue from what he heard).

    I think if they were to try it out, I’d suggest leaving things as is to start. Let goal judges still exist and determine if it’s a goal. After they figure that out, cross reference it to the computer to see if it thought it was a goal too. Figure out really what percentage it gets wrong/right. If it is correct 99% of the time, I think that’s good enough, really. Probably better than the human will get it.. especially if a player is covering the puck (which happens a lot) and they simply just revert the call on the ice.

    One might even say that you leave the goal judge to decide if its a goal, and if he doesn’t have conclusive evidence, then you go to the computer. If it’s right 95% of the time, it’s probably significantly better likelihood of being correct than the ref that made the call.

  22. mrgod2u says:

    I checked and there is already a patent for this, so no million dollar contract for us…

  23. gr8one says:

    I’m thinking the hardest part of this technology would be the sensor being able to differentiate between a puck and a glove crossing the line, or say the big tape knobs some goalies have at the top of their sticks.

    It’s a great idea in theory, but I suspect a lot more to it once you scratch the surface.

    /edit

    mind you, when I think about it, throwing a little chip in the pucks and having a proximity sensor or some sort of invisible laser sensor thingies calibrated right into the goalposts where the sensor in the puck crossing through is the only thing that would trigger it, would take the gloves/sticks/other objects out of the equation I guess.

  24. Racki says:

    Im pretty sure that this whole dot thing that ktown is talking about is something that the computer software would be able to pick up easily. I don’t really know anything about it, but I’m just assuming with the technology out there, they can come up with something that the software can easily know what’s that dot and what’s not it. How? I don’t know… but thankfully there are some smarter people on the planet than I. lol

  25. Ktown says:

    Whew – found a story on the NFL/sensors thing.

    http://www.wired.com/playbook/2010/08/nfl-considers-ball-tracking-chips-for-accuracy/

    It also links to the company that does it.

  26. Ktown says:

    And the link to the company, specifically the GLT (Goal Line Tracking) idea:

    http://www.cairos.com/unternehmen/gltsystem.php

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