The Instigator Podcast 5.9 – Exploring New NHL Rules

Chris and Tyler tackle some of the most talked about potential rule changes proposed in NHL circles in the spirit of finding more goals and creating more excitement around the league. On the agenda are bigger nets, angling the posts, re-instituting the red line and moving to a three-point standing system.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast here or by subscribing on iTunes and Stitcher.

Offside review has become a detriment, not a benefit to the NHL

The clamor over adding a coach’s challenge to the NHL game wasn’t necessarily deafening, but it wasn’t silent either. Over the past few seasons various occurrences (looking at you Matt Duchene) led to a stronger case for teams to have the ability to review certain plays on the ice. Beginning this season the league obliged and provided coaches the ability to challenge one play per game.

It’s become a disaster.

Instituting a coach’s review for goalie interference or offside plays was brilliant, in principle. Mounting examples of each play made for a strong case to give coaches this option and the league was wise to research it and ultimately institute it. The negative impact continues to mount, however and it would seem wise of the league to backtrack on the offside rule at the very least.

Okay, now show me where Angry Birds is again.

The length of the reviews and the size of the tablets used by officials have been the focal point of the new system’s naysayers. That coaches have managed to use the new system as a loophole for much longer timeouts has been another unexpected consequence. The flaws are really coming to the forefront as more and more plays are flagged for review.

I will add that while I am a Sabres fan, my view on the rule does not reflect that Buffalo has been victimized four different times on offside reviews. While that sad bit of irony likely irritates many in the Buffalo fanbase, my criticism rests solely on the flaws I see in reviewing offside plays.

In fact, I’ve grown so tired of the offside review that it upsets me to hear and read the narrative bemoaning the tablets and length of the reviews. While those two features are certainly giant red flags, nothing outweighs the fact that a goal starved league created a rule which removes goals which would otherwise be perfectly legal. There are many out there crying to change the size of the nets – a fundamental alteration of the fabric of the game – while there’s a brand new rule stripping goals off the board. Continue reading

Upcoming Equipment Changes are a Step in the Right Direction

Change is coming once again for National Hockey League goaltenders as this week’s GM meetings indicated that equipment will be scaled down after this season.

The apparent focus on chest protectors and pants is long overdue as the two units have managed to escape much of the focus of past equipment changes. They’re also the only two units that haven’t been altered since the 2004-05 lockout, as pads, gloves and blockers underwent the most change.

All of this is being done to hopefully inject more offense into the game. As goal scoring continues to dip, addressing oversized goal equipment is both an easy and obvious change to make. Oversized shoulder floaters will likely go the way of the Dodo along with other size-related changes.

As a goaltender myself you might think I’d be staunchly against these changes, but I think they’re necessary at this time. Chest protectors and pants are still quite beefy and can stand to be tapered more to the shape of the player wearing them. I’m speaking specifically to the current construction of the shoulder floaters on chest pads today. This is a good example of the type of height you see from these units that not all companies fall in line with (here’s a unit with a more tapered look). Continue reading

NHL testing new rules

The NHL held it’s first research and development camp last week in Toronto. The camp featured some of the top prospects on-ice trying out some new ideas that the league office has thought up.

Some of the ideas are rather strange, some are ingenious and some are downright ridiculous. TSN has the details (and a second article).

Continue reading

NHL proposes rule changes

I’m not even talking about the recent R&D Camp that took place in Toronto. Numerous changes to the game were tested by the league in hopes that some may take hold and make the game better in the future.

The rule changes I am talking about will be instituted for the 2010-11 season.

The first tiebreaker will be a combination of regulation time and overtime victories, with shootout wins excluded, according to the online report.

In the past, the first tiebreaker had been total wins of any kind.

This is a wise choice for the NHL. The new rule will place more emphasis on the team portion of the game without sacrificing the history of the game by changing the point system. Now, say the Red Wings finish the season 42-28-12 with 96 points and the Blues finish 42-28-12 but the Blues had four more shootout wins, the Wings would win the tiebreaker.

I think this type of change is what the NHL needs to stick with. The same can be said for some of the proposed rules pitched at the R&D Camp. If the integrity and history of the sport are sacrificed there is a chance to lose fans. But, if the rich history of this great sport is maintained while improving the overall product, the NHL will benefit.