The changes the NHL's general managers debated in Boca Raton were not earth-shattering. None of the discussed issues would have significantly impacted the game as we know it. Leave it to the old boys club to not want to upset the status quo.
I came up with a list of rule changes that would add some spice to the NHL. Most are written with creating more offense in mind; a few of the others address debated issues around the league.
Before you start commenting and/or emailing/tweeting to Wysh about the logical implications of my changes, I remind you this is a piece of satire. My sense of humor and imagination just aren't as profound as yours. Don't waste your time.
However, if any of my proposed changes come to fruition we can assume Vince McMahon is commissioner and this is now the XHL.
New rule: Scoring a short-handed goal ends the other team's power play - for minor penalties only.
This is pretty self explanatory. The team that's killing a penalty gets their player in the box back when they score a shorty. Instead of just clearing their zone while on the PK, teams are incentivized to create offense at the same time.
The rule only applies to two-minute and four-minute minor penalties. Major penalties are excluded because usually something really bad has happened to warrant the major.
New rule: Puck hits the netting around the rink and comes back on the ice, it is still a live puck.
- The netting wraps around the entire rink, just like the glass does.
- Instead of allowing slack in the net, it would be pulled taught to make a trampoline-like surface.
This brings a completely new element to the game due to the inconsistency of where the puck is going to end up. It might hit a dead spot in the netting and roll back down to the playing surface. Or the puck could hit the net and ricochet all the way back down to the other end of the ice.
Icing would not change. If you hit the puck in the netting in your zone and it flings to the other side of the rink, icing remains a possibility (depending on who wins the theoretical race).
The rule would not totally eliminate the delay of game penalty for the puck over the glass; instead of the glass, it's a two minute delay of game penalty when the puck clears the top of the netting. Considering the top of the netting is near the highest tier of seats in most arenas, a player would have to really shank the puck to earn the penalty.
(S/T to Chris Kober from Anaheim Calling for the general idea)
New Rule: If a goalie commits a penalty, they have to serve it.
No! It wouldn't be all empty-net goals. Coaches can get creative when this happens.
There can only be six players on the ice for a team in a regular shift, five players for a standard power play. Coaches can take the chance of keeping all five non-goalie players on the ice with an open net for the penalty, or they can put the backup goalie in and take one of their five skaters off.
Can you imagine Henrik Lundqvist coming out of the penalty box, intercepting a pass, and going on the slowest breakaway ever?! What if he actually scored?! What if the backup can't get off the ice and a team has to play with two goalies, one in net and the other joins the rush.
Once the goalie exits his defensive zone, he can be hit or deliver hits.
New Rule: Stanley Cup champions receive perks in the following regular season.
- To counter the 'Stanley Cup hangover', the champs play zero back-to-back games for the first half of the season. (What about the SCF losers? They get nothing!)
- Home or away, they always get the last change.
- In 20 regular season games of their choosing, they can dress one extra player. Only limitation is that the designated 'extra player' must have been on the Cup team roster.
- At all away games, the PA announcer must refer to them as the Stanley Cup Champion (TEAM) when making announcements. (Example: Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks goal scored by Patrick Kane, unassisted, at 15:01.)
- Team changes the logo on the front of the jersey to the Stanley Cup, or changes the word-mark to 'CUP CHAMPION'. Any new players to the roster not on the Cup team stick with the normal logo or word-mark on the jersey. (S/T to the MvsW listener who suggested the uni changes.)
Once the playoffs start, they revert to regular rules and jerseys.
New Rule: Changes point structure and overtime/shootouts. (I combined these two issues because my solution impacts the other.)
The NHL will go to a five-point structure:
- If a team wins in regulation, they receive five points.
- If a team wins in a four-minute, four-on-four sudden death overtime, they receive four points.
- If a team wins in a three-minute, three-on-three sudden death overtime, they receive three points.
- If a team wins in a two-minute, two-on-two sudden death overtime, they receive two points. (NOTE: each pairing must be one forward and one defenseman)
- If they make it to the shoot-out: still the best of three, but it will be a modified version of the Olympic rules. Teams can have the same player shoot all three times (or more, when necessary) or switch players in and out like they do now. Winner gets one point.
- NO LOSER POINT!
In-between each OT round, there is a 90 second television time-out for the ice girls to shovel snow. The zamboni will only scrape the ice for the shoot-out. Teams will switch ends after each OT period.
Actual game play is extended by nine minutes plus the length of the shoot-out. Factor in the TV time outs and we're looking at around 30 additional minutes tacked on at the end of a game should it go all the way to a shoot-out.
Worried about the physical toll it takes on the players? Half of them won't see the ice in the overtime(s). Oh no, Sidney Crosby might be tired from all the extra minutes? Suck it up. He makes $8.7-million a season. This is his job. He can take an extra long nap the next day.
If a coach doesn't want to put the extra stress on his top players, then they should win in regulation.
There are complaints now about going to the Olympic rules because it would cause teams to seek out a 'shoot-out specialist'.
And? If a team wants to waste cap space and a seat on the bench for a guy who may or may not be useful in a game is the team's risk to bear. They already do it with enforcers anyway.