Ken’s Proposed NHL Rule Changes

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For as long as I’ve been a fan of sports, I’ve been obsessed with the rules. To me, a sport without rules is just a bunch of grown men running around like idiots. Ok, fine, that’s probably what it is even with the rules, but at least the rules make it seem more official.

Seriously though, I love rules. I read the entire rulebook once a year before the season starts, it’s that obsessive. Today, I want to present a bunch of rule changes I believe the NHL should enact. Here we go.

The period/game will not end until the puck clears the zone without an icing

A ticking clock is fun and buzzer beaters are amazing, but the game of hockey is played over 60 minutes and there’s usually between three and seven goals scored in a game. The chances of there being a goal moments before the clock strikes zero are extremely low. (In VGK history I can only remember one, Max Pacioretty’s in Nashville).

So, instead, the rules should reward a team for holding the puck in the offensive zone and give them as much time as they need on that possession to score. For a period to end, either a goal is scored by the attacking team or the defending team would either need to successfully clear the zone or force a legal game stoppage (something other than a puck over glass delay penalty).

At the end of the 1st and 2nd period, assuming the puck is in one of the two offensive zones, the clock starts counting up from 0:00 after the 20 minutes expired. That time would simply be subtracted from the start of the next period. In the 3rd period, the game will either end or be extended by a goal.

The idea of this is to promote more late period/game scoring. It doesn’t make much sense to reward a team for being hemmed in at the end of a period just because the clock strikes zero. Make them earn it.

Any puck that goes in the goal off a skate will be disallowed

The whole kicking motion thing has gotten out of hand. There are so many different ways to determine whether a player did or did not purposely use their skate to direct a pick into the goal and quite frankly, these guys are so good they probably can do it on purpose and make it look like an accident.

No more gray area. Simply put, if the puck does in off an attacking player’s skate, the goal will not count. Fluky goals will always be part of the game, but eliminating some of them would make the sport better.

Use review system to change location of faceoffs after incorrect calls

This one is pretty minor, but it’s so easy to enact and it’s worthwhile even if it doesn’t catch all of them. Oftentimes a play is close to being offside and the linesman allows it to go on with the understanding that review can and will go back and rule off a goal if one is scored. However, a goal is the only event that can reverse a missed offside call. Meanwhile, there are times when the ensuing possession ends in a draw in the offensive zone (icing, puck out of play, goalie freeze, etc.). Even worse, a penalty can be called after such an event as well.

To fix this, an off ice official should watch every zone entry and determine if the play is offside. If it is, the play will continue as normal, but if a stoppage occurs on the same possession, the faceoff is taken in the neutral zone instead of the offensive zone. Penalties would be waved off and icings would be nullified allowing the team the right to make a line change.

Goalies should not be allowed to punch people

I understand the need to protect goalies and that’s all fine and well, but the idea that they were above the law when it comes to post whistle scrums is ridiculous. Look, here’s Igor Shesterkin throwing a haymaker at a guy laying in the crease.

That’s really all there is to this one. Call penalties on goalies the same way we call them on everyone else.

The playoff draft

Instead of predetermining which teams play each other based on seeding, let them choose. Here’s how it would work.

Before each round of the playoffs, the team with the best regular season record would have the first selection of who they want to play. They can pick any of the other 15 teams including the 2nd overall team if they wish. Next, if not selected, the 2nd place team gets to pick. Then 3rd, 4th, and all the way down until all eight matchups are confirmed. This is done live on a TV show that would undoubtedly draw better ratings than the games themselves.

Imagine the rivalries that would create!

Ok, now, your turn. What rule changes do you want to see in the NHL?

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