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One of the most talked about aspects from the last lockout was the rule changes put in place to create the 'New NHL.' Although a widespread overhaul of the game isn't expected (or necessary) this time around, there are several tweaks that could or should be put into place. Our writers offer up their thoughts on what rule they would like to see added or changed.
The following question was posed to our writers:
After the last lockout, we saw several rule changes implemented. What is one rule change you'd like to see implemented coming out of the lockout?
Matt Dilworth: Although much of the talk has been regarding hybrid icing, I would like to see the end of the awful "puck over the glass" delay of game penalty. I understand why the rule was implemented, but I believe that the vast majority of this particular offence are accidental and thus create artificial opportunities in the game. Ideally, I would prefer that this become more of a discretionary call (and another reason to yell at the refs) and hopefully prevent unfair, artificial circumstances.
Brian La Rose: Protecting players' safety is at the forefront right now and one way they can especially protect the defencemen is to get rid of the trapezoid where goalies aren't allowed to play the puck. When we're talking about the art of the dump in and 'perfect draw weight' (let curling terms stay in curling), something is seriously wrong. As a result, defencemen are finding themselves in no-win situations when going back to retrieve pucks. If they go in first, they're getting drilled by the forechecker and if they let the attacker get it first, it obviously leads to the other team regaining control of the puck. Obviously, most blueliners go in first and are getting hit too often in sometimes awkward positions which has led to more injuries. In fact, I'd go as far to suggest that the collisions that some want to see out of the game by removing touch icing are more plentiful in situations where d-men are playing the puck inside the trapezoid.
The original thought process behind instituting the rule was that goalies were too often playing the puck out of the zone which reduced the potential for offence. Granted, this is the case for some goalies but there are plenty of others who have some adventurous moments when they venture out of the crease to play the puck. If you allow them to do it more, there will be more giveaways that lead to chances/goals which will offset some of the potentially lost chances from goalies playing the puck to a teammate to clear the zone. It's win-win - a negligible (at worst) impact on the offensive opportunities and defencemen that stay healthier throughout the year.
Alex Létourneau: No touch icing is a must. Players are getting obliterated and seriously injured for very little reason. I don’t have the stats but I will eat my hat if an offensive player beats out the defenseman and scores or assists on a goal immediately after negating the icing more times than not. I understand it will have other effects on the game but I can’t think of any way it will impact the game negatively on a game by game basis. Sure, there’ll probably be some plays where it will benefit a team in some games but that kind of thing tends to even itself out as the season goes on.
For a league that’s looking to take the attention away from serious injuries, no touch icing would certainly be a step in the right direction to protecting their players.
Norm Szcyrek: I believe no touch icing is a no-brainer rule to implement. I've seen it work well in college hockey and the Olympics, and it saves time and greatly decreases the risk of injury. Unfortunately it appears a few NHL caveman level thinking governors/GM's are strongly against the idea, and fight it each time the idea is brought up for discussion.
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