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).