Around the NHL: The general managers meeting leads to several new rule changes

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
30 days ago
On Tuesday, the general managers had a meeting and there are a few new rules that’ll potentially be implemented over the next few seasons, pending approval from the league’s competition committee and Board of Governors.
Unfortunately, the National Hockey League did not address how three-on-three overtime is played, the shootout and how it overstayed its welcome, or the salary cap in the playoffs. However, there are some pretty interesting rule changes.
Let’s take a look at the latest Around the NHL. 

No more legs over the boards

According to Elliotte Friedman, an immediate rule change is that players that aren’t on the ice can’t dangle their skates over the boards. It’s a warning at first, with the second infraction being a bench minor.
This is a reactionary rule change, and for good reason, as a linesman was recently cut by a skate in this scenario during a Winnipeg Jets/Minnesota Wild game about a month ago, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo.
It’s a good rule that keeps everyone on the ice safe. Moreover, players should have no problems adjusting to this.

Goalies can’t dislodge the net or it’s a penalty

How wasn’t this a penalty already? According to Friedman, goalies were added to the list of players that aren’t allowed to intentionally dislodge the net.
This penalty is already a rare call, so don’t expect it to be called often even though goalies 100% know what they’re doing when they push off the post and dislodge the net. A good example of this is when Toronto Maple Leafs’ netminder Matt Murray did it a handful of times last season.
Of course, you also have that one time when Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ netminder David Leggio decided to throw over his net instead of facing a two-man breakaway, leading to a penalty shot. This was an absolutely hilarious moment in hockey history though.

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This rule won’t be enforced often at all, so expect nothing to change!

Back up netminders get a warmup if the starting netminder is pulled due to injury

How many times has a goalie sustained an injury, just for their backup to be cold and allow a couple of goals after manning the pipes? Well, according to Friedman, a netminder entering the game due to an injury will get a warmup.
It doesn’t sound like a backup netminder replacing a struggling goalie performance-wise will get the same treatment, but this is a pretty good rule to add. In Major League Baseball, if a pitcher is injured, the new reliever replacing him will get all the time he needs to warm up, and this new rule is pretty similar to that.

If a goalie loses his mask, the faceoff will be in the offensive zone

Another goaltending rule, as Friedman reports that if a netminder’s mask comes off and the play is blown dead, the team that basically shot the puck at the netminder’s head will get an offensive zone faceoff on the side they choose.
Even if the puck is in the other offensive zone and there’s a good scoring chance, the puck will always be dropped to the left or right of the goaltender that lost his mask. This will encourage goalies to fix their mask if the puck leaves the zone, but all in all, it’s a small rule change that likely won’t impact the game all too much.

The puck has to be played

How many times have you seen a puck played with a high stick, and all ten players surround the puck like children around a campfire telling ghost stories?
Well, according to Friedman, if the opposing team that didn’t commit the infraction refuses to touch the puck, the faceoff will come in a zone better than where the puck was.
An example Friedman gives is that if this happens in the neutral zone near the opposing team’s blue line, the game will be blown dead and the puck will be dropped in the offensive zone of the team that didn’t touch the puck.
This actually could make matters worse as the standing around the puck usually happens in the opposing team’s neutral zone. The puck usually isn’t touched because once it is, the game is back on and the team that committed the infraction is mere feet away from the puck carrier. It may be a smarter play for the defending team to just take the defensive zone faceoff.

The future of three-on-three overtime

Three-on-three overtime is a mess. When it was first introduced, it was a fun and exciting way to end a hockey game as there were a ton of odd man rushes with both teams trying to pick up the two points. After a few seasons, it has now become a slow and boring period where teams try and hold the puck for as long as possible to tire out the opposing team.
Of course, the league didn’t look to implement an over and back rule which would see the puck carrying team automatically lose it if they intentionally brought it over the blue line or red line. The only rule change that was brought up according to Friedman was making the period seven minutes instead of five minutes like how the East Coast Hockey League does it.
With an additional two minutes in the overtime period, the shootout would become even rarer, but it doesn’t address the root issue of the new overtime period – it’s incredibly boring to watch. One way to rectify this would be that there are no long changes, meaning teams wouldnt switch nets after the third period ended. This would allow the defending team to change at least one player if the puck is brought into the neutral zone.
Alternatively, just bring back four-on-four and ties.

New coaches challenges

Why not slow down the game even more by adding additional plays that coaches can challenge. Friedman reports that the team that is called for a delay of game can challenge the play if they believe it was deflected.
Additionally, a minor high sticking call can now be challenged to see if it was a teammates stick or their own stick. It used to be just a double-minor that could be reviewed.
If a team loses a challenge and the penalty is upheld, they’ll automatically be down two men for a full five-on-three power play, so hopefully this deters teams from slowing the game down even more.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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