Just a few random thoughts on ideas for rule changes. Not really New York Ranger related, but this was my best outlet for a forum. I've ranked them from least crazy to most crazy. I'm not sure these are all great ideas, but I would like to see them tried out in exhibition format.
1. Coaches Review
Make all plays reviewable, but under the criteria that clear evidence must support the challenge.This might get tricky with penalties, so you might have to limit it to goals but something needs to be in place to avoid complete mistakes by the refs.
2. Kicked-In Goals
Just remove any ambiguity in the call. The interpretation needs to be either "distinct kicking motion which propels the puck into the net" (i.e. the player must actually kick it in, not just move their foot to deflect it) or "distinct motion which guides the puck into the net" (i.e. doesn't matter if its a kick, if you move your foot to deflect the puck with your skate it's still not a goal). I'm just tired of it being called one way one day and another way on a different day. I would suggest the first, if a player has the skill to deflect a puck with their skate why not let that count as a goal, just stop guys from kicking at pucks in the crease.
Or, and this just a minor change, all video reviews of kicks should be reviewed at full speed. I think sometimes kicks can seem way more intentional when slowed down to 1/10th speed.
3. A Diver's Tally
So diving I think is one of the trickiest calls for a ref. At the speed of the game who can really see whether a player is embellishing contact. I know for damn sure that if a stick was flying at my face I'd whip my head back whether there was contact or not. At the same time it takes away from the integrity of the game having guys out there trying to bend the rules.
So here is my in-between solution, review games after the fact and if a player embellishes anything they get a demerit. If a player over-reacts to a hit, clutches a stick to get a hooking call, etc. count that as one point. Once a player gets to a certain number, let's say 5, they have to sit out a game. It would be just enough of a deterrent to keep players honest and open enough to account for mistakes in calling out embellishment. Plus it would just be fun to see Ovechkin/Crosby rack them up.
4. Delay of Game/ Uncontested Face-offs
So delay of game is just one of those calls that seems out of place in the game, it hardly seems fair that making a mistake clearing the zone is an equal punishment to cross checking a player in the face. My alternate idea for discipline is something a little closer to a free kick in soccer. Treat it as you would an icing call, an offensive zone face-off with no player changes, but the offending team can't contest the face-off (or in other words the Center just gets to take the puck from the face-off dot). I think it could be cool to watch teams run set plays in this situation, but the advantage is limited to one play, not a full two minute advantage.
I would also extend the "free kick" to some other minor infractions, as there would be an in-between punishment between a full penalty and no call at all. The refs would have something to use when a team is just delaying the game by slowly coming to the face off dot, intentionally getting kicked out of the face-off, or knocking their own net off its moorings.
This is just personal gripe of mine, when a team is moving down the ice with full control of the puck and the puck carrier makes a little step at the blue line and causes a stoppage for an off-side. My thought is as long as the first player to touch the puck is not off-side just let it go. Or in other words players can't be passed the puck or retrieve the puck when they are offside, but they can cross the blue line otherwise. I'd have to see it in an actual games as to whether this would be limited to close call rushes up the ice or the full ability to enter the zone before the puck. But either way I think it would help open up the game and reduce stoppages in play.
6. 4/3 Powerplay Overtime
OK, this one is probably the craziest, but when I hear people talking about going down to 3 vs 3 overtime periods, I just think its a novelty when it happens now and would become more conservative (like 4 on 4 OTs now) when implemented into the actual rules. So my thought is keep 4-on-4 after the first 5 minutes or so, but one player always has to stay on the offensive side of the Center line. So basically whenever someone has the puck in the offensive zone they would be on a powerplay. It's strange, but at least it would have more to do with the actual game then a shoot out. And teams would suddenly have to be very strategic about whether they try to defend the 4 on 3 but have an outlet for a breakaway, or take the chance on gaining the offensive zone first. I think it would at the very least make the end of tie games very exciting and decide more games before a shoot out.
Those are my ideas, feel free to call me crazy, or add your own crazy ideas below.