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.
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