Today's Puck Daddy Article outlines 4 rules that might be put into place to change the Power Play as we know it in order to create even more scoring. (Puck Daddy Article)
Every year since Shanny took over the Leagues Research and Development the league has toyed with the ideas such as increasing the size of the blue lines, tear dropping the goal posts, and playing without a goaltender (just kidding). This year they are supposedly focusing on the idea of change the Power Play, Puck Daddy points out 4 possible changes that the league could look into.
1. No Icing while Short Handed
Via Puck Daddy: Having a shorthanded team called for icing, and then having their exhausted foursome stuck on the ice for a defensive zone draw, would seem to dramatically increase scoring chances for the power play. Or, if nothing else, this rule could end the monotonous 2 minutes of ice-and-chase that currently encompass the majority of NHL power plays.
Now there are two sides that I look at when thinking about the Icing while Short-handed. First, is that it's simply ludicrous to put that enormous burden on the penalty killer whom are already a man down and are likely to spend most of the time in their own zone. Should the NHL decided to not allow the penalty killing team the opportunity to ice the puck, clear the zone, and change players the resulting effect will be four exhausted players lumbering around the zone for possibly two full minutes. What does this mean, well it's going to look very sloppy and will almost guarantee a PP goal.
On the other hand, is a very radical view in my opinion, is that the team was penalized which means you've done wrong, and you should be punished for you're wrong doing. If your team has committed a penalty, why should you be afforded the opportunity to Ice the puck? You shouldn't, but as of right now that is the way it is.
If the league decides to disallow the penalty killing team to ice the puck the amount of penalties must change. The league simply cannot allow the "ticky-tack" calls to continued to be enforced because the overall product will suffer. Imagine attempting to kill 5 penalties in the first of three periods of play.
2. Delay of Game on the Goalies
Via Puck Daddy:You know how goaltenders often grab the puck around their crease to freeze it, or craftily bat the puck into the stands on the penalty kill to give their teams a break?
Camp Shanny will look into strict enforcement of "goaltenders covering puck outside crease," which will help eliminate stoppages in play and effectively take away one weapon from the last line of defense. It's not a power-play specific rule, but it's one that could really affect a goalie's options on the kill.
The Rule is 63.2:
A minor penalty for delay of game shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who deliberately shoots or bats (hand or his stick) the puck outside the playing area during play or after stoppage of play.
How many times have we seen goaltenders swat the puck into the stands and play stops with no penalty? It's become a useful tactic on the penalty kill and if the non-icing would be enforced on penalty kills you would see a lot more of this in order to stop play and get fresh killers on the ice. Interesting though is that the rule makes no mention of the use of the goalies blockers or in the Lundqvists case helmet to intentionally deflect the puck out of play. While opposing teams may want those things to be added the truth of the matter is that there is no telling where the puck will ricochet to after making contact with the blocker or helmet. If the rule was to be expanded beyond the "stick or hand" there would be too much referee discretion in the play and increasing of penalty calls would result, and some without any merit.
A bigger concern I have always voiced to my friends in recent years is the following excerpt from rule 63.2:
If a goalkeeper comes out of his crease to "cut down the angle" on a shot and after making the save covers the puck, this shall be legal. If the goalkeeper races out of his crease in an attempt to beat the attacking player to the puck and instead of playing the puck jumps on the puck causing a stoppage of play, this shall be a minor penalty for delay of game
I've known this was the rule for a long time, but there has been absolutely zero enforcement on this rule. I've even seen M.A. Fluery cover the puck behind the net. It's very simple if you make the save cover it, if you come rushing out of the crease prior to making the save... cough cough Tim Thomas cough cough.... then you are not allowed to cover the puck having not had to make a save. The non-enforcement of this call has it's other functions as well, goaltenders who have come flying out of the crease have opened themselves up for contact, and as we all know if you touch the goaltender anywhere you are more likely to get a penalty. As many of us saw in the SC Finals, penalties aren't even between players and goaltenders, touch a goaltender in the crease go to the box, goaltender stands up checks a defenseless player, no penalty.
If the league chooses the enforce this rule, goaltenders are more likely to stay in their crease. Thus any goaltender making contact with a player outside of the crease while he's trying to cover it will result in a penalty for the goaltender. (Which will probably result in off-setting minors ala diving)
3. Delayed Penalties
If a team scores on a delayed penalty should a penalty still be awarded? I'm up in the air.
Should the team have to clear their defensive zone with possession of the puck? If so what's possession, and what if the pucks not in the defensive zone? Then what constitutes possession?
Can you see what I'm getting at? Possession rules raise to many questions, keep the possession the way it currently is and if you want to add that a delayed penalty goal doesn't negate the upcoming penalty fine.
Via Puck Daddy: Again, this would seem to punish teams for breaking the rules and reward their victims. Kind of a no-brainer, if juicing offense is the aim. Plus it could make for some pressure-packed moments and frantic battles for the puck in the offensive zone. Always a good thing.
4. No more Minor Penalties
Making every penalty a Major Penalty thus allowing teams to score at will for 2 minutes (or 5 or 10) is not something we haven't seen before. My view would be making this change alone would be fine, but to encompass the no icing rule with no minor penalties could be very damaging to overall play. I mean honestly could you stack the odds further against a team.
Going back to what I said earlier the penalties would have to lessen drastically in order to allow this type of rule change or we could have an entire period of penalties.
Via Puck Daddy: It could encourage more even-strength play … or it could mean a six-penalty period could yield only eight minutes of five-on-five (in theory). You run the risk of turning these games into power-play fests.
Personally I'd rather see more even-strength hockey.
What do you guys think? Is the league going overboard on the rule changes?