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Around the Boards: Changes-A-Plenty
Around the Boards: Changes-A-Plenty(2012-11-22 21:02 posted by B. La Rose)

If there was one positive that came out of the last lockout, it was the systemic changes to the game that most would agree made it more entertaining.  Although no one expects a similar overhaul whenever this work stoppage ends, there could very well be a few tweaks or two.  Earlier this week our writers offered up what they would like to see changed and today our readers do the same, bringing some interesting ideas to the table.

What were some of the things that our readers want changed?

DON: "Might as well either eliminate the goalie crease, it is meaningless and irrelevant at present, or institute the international crease rule."

Machine of Loving Grace: "The loser point needs to be abolished and Olympic/International hockey has the best system to implement.  Games are worth three points.  You get zero points if you lose in regulation.  If the game goes to overtime/shootout, each team gets one point for regulation and plays for the winning point, meaning an OT/SO win is only worth two points."

JoeLassister: "The icing rule. Once in a season, the race for the puck is exciting. Make it like the World Juniors championship and give the players a rest when the icing is obvious."

The Chicoutimi Cucumber: "Recommit to the crackdown on obstruction. And change the disciplinary structure so that head shots are disciplined regardless of 'intent.'"

BlueKross: "Play one period of overtime and if it isn't decided it ends in a tie."

Personally speaking, I'm not a big fan in general of change.  But that said, I can't disagree with the notions of any of these.  I've never been a fan of the shootout, it's a skills competition for the sake of having fans leave without the dissatisfaction of seeing a tie game.  I don't buy that.  Ties are fine.  If one team can't score more goals than the other, they don't deserve to reap the full benefits of a victory (in this case, two points).  I wouldn't have any problem going back to the way it was before the lockout where teams played a five minute overtime and if there were no goals scored, it's a tie and both teams go home with a point. 

I also wouldn't have a problem with playing a full OT period, or even more.  Extended OT is a punishment to teams for not scoring and that's a fair punishment in my opinion.  I suspect there would, however, be issues with playing a full overtime immediately after the 3rd period - what type of shape would the ice be in?  One possible way around this would be to adopt a model that some of the lower levels in Ontario (I can't speak to whether it's used elsewhere) use - a ten minute overtime immediately following the end of regulation and if there is no scoring by then, the ice is flooded and any other overtimes would be the standard 20 minutes.  I doubt the NHL would go with this route (I don't see the shootout leaving) but I think it would be an improvement.

Traditionalists would say that changing the points system would more or less throw the current team points records out the window as changing to a 3/2/1/0 system would see numerous teams break the current record.  Of course, the current record could be extrapolated to the new system for the sake of comparison.  Before the last lockout, one of the complaints was that too many teams would play for the tie (and the Habs were a team that was guilty of that as well).  The shootout was supposed to fix that.  It didn't; now teams just play for the shootout.  This points system would change that as teams will want to do their best to ensure they get the maximum amount of points. 

Like many, I've found that the crackdown on obstruction has lessened over the years.  Although I don't want to see a return to the days where over a third of the game was spent on special teams, the clutch-and-grab style we're reverting back to needs to be reduced somewhat.  I'm hopeful that with player discipline being a point of discussion in the current CBA talks that we'll see a system with a lot less of a grey area when it comes to suspensions - the less that is open to interpretation, the fairer it is for everyone.  A good point was raised about the crease as well - beyond aesthetics, what purpose does the crease serve?  Goalies do get bumped in there, often with no call.  I'm not sure going to the international rules is ideal with the crease at its current size but if the crease were to be shrunk somewhat, there really could be some validity in that idea as well.

I don't expect much to be changed rule wise coming out of the lockout, especially if the two sides can get something done midseason.  If the league has a thirst for change though, these ideas would go a long way towards making the NHL an even more entertaining league to watch.





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- Writers Weigh In: Tweaking Time posted by B. La Rose
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