Little Rule Changes

The NHL will implement some minor rule changes for the start of the 2008-09 season. The idea behind these makes logical sense – most of them. This post is based on an article from The Hockey News: http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/18040-THNcom-Blog-NHL-hopes-to-prevent-injuries-with-new-icing-rule.html

First, players cannot go at someone full tilt when racing down an iced puck. Some background here: if the Devils ice the puck, if they touch it first in the offensive zone, the icing is called off. But if their opponents touch it, icing is called and the faceoff is brought in to the Devils end. Previously, when racing down to negate an icing, incidental contact (and sometimes intentional contact) could cause someone to fall and strike the boards so hard it could (and has) cause an injury. Now a penalty can be called if that occurs, up to 5 minutes if the player is injured. The referees also have the discretion of calling a “hitting from behind” penalty which comes with its own game misconduct.

My take: Good call guys. That is a really stupid injury to get when racing to an icing. Now if only you guys can also catch the high sticks, chargings, and cross checks too…

Next, also dealing with icings, you all remember how an icing call would prevent the offending team from making a line change. However if this occurred when a TV timeout was also scheduled to take place, the players would get a nice two minute rest, pretty much negating any effect of penalizing the offending team of no line change. Now TV timeouts will not take place but instead occur on the next stoppage in play.

My take: Again, good call. Although I don’t agree with the rule 100%, it was stupid to have a TV break when you’re trying to penalize the team that just delayed the game in the first place.

If a shot to the net hit a crossbar or post and ricocheted out of play, the faceoff was brought out in to the neutral zone. This has also been changed and now the faceoff will take place in to the defending zone.

My take: Was this really an issue? It’s not a bad rule, and probably won’t affect the Devils all that much since they barely get shots further than 10 feet away on net, but why not just have the faceoff take place in the area of where the shot was made? Oh well, not a bad call… just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

Lastly, if a player gets a penalty, regardless of the location of the puck or the player, the next faceoff will take place in the offending team’s zone.

My take: Okay, this one I just think is stupid. First, you are already taking a player off the ice so regardless of where the penalty and ensuing faceoff takes place, the offending team is at a disadvantage. In addition, the team with the power play will have a whole two minutes to get down the ice, and if they are too incompetent to accomplish that, than they shouldn’t be rewarded with having an automatic ice advantage. Lastly, take the human factor into consideration. I hate it when refs blow a call, but you know what? I make mistakes to, and they too have bad results. We’re all human. But now in addition to a blown call, we have to rub salt in to the wound and reward the opposing team with 125 feet of ice? How about this, a one on one situation occurs and the defending player gets tripped up on his own stick in close proximity to the forward or, and I know the NHL says this never occurs anymore, may even take a dive. And lets say the ref is on the opposite side of the ice, and it looks like the rushing forward with puck caused this to occur. Now not only are we going to penalize someone who shouldn’t get a penalty, but also bring the play all the way back to the other end of the ice? Sorry guys, but this is a bad rule in my book.
Note: I am not sure how this rule works if coincidental minors take place.

I guess 2.5 out of 4 ain’t bad. I can only pray that during my lifetime I will see the Anti-Brodeur Act of 2006 be repealed and the removal of the instigator rule (come on NHL, even Doc says this is a bad one).

Devils Fall Early to Flyers

After a very brief training camp, the Devils hit the ice Monday night to tangle with the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Weekes started in net for the Devils, and in typical pre-season fashion, was replaced by Scott Clemmensen after 30 minutes of play.

There wasn’t too much to note in this game. The top line of Brian Rolston, Patrik Elias, and Brian Gionta couldn’t form any type of scoring opportunities, but it’s a new line so let’s give it a few days to develop.

Devils Coach Brent Sutter also spoke up after the game, unhappy about 19 of his 20 players’ ability on the ice. He praised Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (whose jersey must be hell to sew the last name on) who dropped the gloves twice to try and spark something in the team.

“We hadn’t worked on it at all the last two days,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “You rely on the experience of individuals on the ice. Certain guys who needed to play well did. Certain guys you thought would (play well), didn’t.”

Now normally I stick up for Sutter, as he has a very tough job in getting a defensive team to score. But come on, you gave the team two days of practice, and you are upset they didn’t play well? Not to mention that you have a grand number of wee-Devils and some new faces to the ice from last year – you need to give them a little time to form to each other.

Now of course this last comment is going to bite me in the rear come November when they still aren’t playing well…

In any case, I would like to thank the Philadelphia Flyers for broadcasting the game on their website – I just have one recommendation: if you don’t have announcers at the game, just plug the radio guys in to the video feed. It’s much better than silent hockey.

Some quick notes: watch for Leblond. He is not above fighting his way to an NHL spot, literally. He has a physical presence and hopefully can play enforcer without needing to drop the gloves every night. And don’t expect Sutter to keep the REG line together for very long. If there’s one thing I learned about Sutter last year, he will tweak the lines even after you have lost complete faith in him as a coach.

End of an Off-Season, Devils and Flyers Meet on Monday

The time is approaching, that start of the regular season is only a couple of weeks away, and Devils training camp is coming to a close, as the Devils prepare to take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

As of right now, the roster consists of many guys from the Lowell Devils, in addition to New Jersey’s core players. Some familiar names you may recognize include:

Forwards:
David Clarkson
Patrik Elias
Brian Gionta
Bobby Holik
Jamie Langenbrunner
John Madden
Jay Pandolfo
Zach Parise
Rod Pelley
Brian Rolston
Michael Rupp
Barry Tallackson
Travis Zajac
Dainius Zubrus

Defense:
Sheldon Brookbank
Andrew Greene
Paul Martin
Mike Mottau
John Oduya
Bryce Salvador
Colin White

Some names you may notice missing include Sergei Brylin and Vitali Vishnevski. Sarge was let go as the last remaining skater who has won all three cups with the Devils. Martin Brodeur is now the only one left to make that claim. The breakup was supposedly mutual, but Brylin was only offered a one year deal which he took to mean his career with the Devils was winding down.

Vitaly Vishnevski was also left out, clearing waivers to leave to US and play in Russia. You may remember Vishnevski as laying out some great hits typically once in every game. You may also remember that was the only time you heard or saw of Vishnevski in every game.

Other acquisition news includes the signing of Scott Clemmensen as a free agent, the trade of minor leaguer Sean Zimmerman for minor leaguer Kevin Cormier (Left Wing), and the reacquiring of Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston.

Also in the news, Brian Rolston apparently has a no-trade clause in his contact. He agrees that this doesn’t mean much, but it give Rolston some control over his future if the Devils want to get rid of him. Barry Tallackson, who has a legit shot at making the big leagues, had a minor heart scare on Friday. He claims it was something minor as the team conducting further tests the past few days. He was slated to be back on the ice this past Saturday.

Njdevils.info Site Notes

For those of you that are frequent flyers of njdevils.info know that a new site recently opened up under the njdevils.info umbrella: DevilSphere. This site is a message board for communicating with Devils fans. As of right now, there hasn’t been too much activity, as the site has always had low patronage under its former management. However we hope to have some interesting integration with other network sites available for the start of the season.

Now, njdevils.info has opened yet another site, this playing to the tune of a comprehensive news outlet all for the New Jersey Devils. The NJ Devils News Center, located at www.njdevilsnews.com, scours the internet all during the day, and then downloads and posts news stories pertaining to your New Jersey Devils.

The njdevils.info Members Network is slowly making its way through this site as well. This means that if you are a registered member at njdevils.info, you also can access special options at the NJ Devils News Center as well as discuss everything about the New Jersey Devils at DevilSphere.

I’m done plugging myself now. I’ll be posting some Devils news next!