Every year the NHL changes a few rules. There a few steps to new rules being put in place with the first being a group of NHL players, coaches, GMs, and owners called the “Competition Committee” getting together to come up with recommendations that are then sent to the GM’s meetings for review.
That group recently met and they came up with six changes they recommend for the 2019-20 season. Here’s what they recommended and how I feel about each of the potential rule changes.
Helmets Off During Play – The Committee recommends work on a rule construct for implementation next season that would reasonably require a player to leave the ice in the event his helmet comes off during play.
It’s kind of surprising this rule hadn’t been put in place already. I’m not even a favor of the word “reasonably” being in this recommendation. Let’s just simplify it, no helmet, no hockey. If you lose your helmet, get the heck off the ice.
Expanded Video Review/Coach’s Challenge – The Committee recommends changes to the Coach’s Challenge and expanded video review, including as it relates to a Referee’s ability to review some of his own calls on the ice. Recommendations will be prepared for the League’s Board of Governors, General Managers and the NHLPA’s Executive Board.
This is fairly vague, so we’ll still have to wait and see what they end up going with for next year. I’ve made it fairly clear how I would like the see the review process changes, both here and on the latest SinBin.vegas Podcast. So we’ll skip this one, but at least we know some change is coming.
Goalies Unnecessarily Freezing Puck – The Committee recommends that the defensive team not be permitted a line change when a goalie freezes the puck on any shot from outside the center red line. The offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place.
Absolutely love this rule and hope it’s the beginning of more rules banning goalies from freezing the puck. This particular one is a simple change that won’t effect the game much at all, but it’s opening the door for more.
I’d like to see the rule go as far as, no freezing the puck unless the goalie is in the crease. I’d also like to see referees and linesmen be a little more proactive forcing goalies to put the puck back in play. If the goalie doesn’t oblige, use the NBA’s style of delay of game where there’s one warning before a penalty is called.
Face-off Procedure Changes/Line Changes – The Committee recommends: i) that following an icing, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place. ii) To begin a power-play, the offensive team will have the choice of which end-zone dot the face-off will take place. iii) That no line change be permitted for the defending team if, in the judgement of the Official, the actions of a skater of the defensive team caused the stoppage by unintentionally knocking the net off. The offensive team will have the choice of which end-zone dot the face-off will take place.
These are all fairly straight forward and there’s no reason they all weren’t in the rules already. With more and more players specializing in winning draws on a certain side, there’s definitely an advantage to be able to select which side the draw will be taken on.
Puck Out of Bounds – The Committee recommends that when the attacking team is responsible for the puck going out of play in the attacking zone, all face-offs will be conducted at one of the two face-off dots in the attacking zone.
I’m actually not a fan of this one. If the offensive team shoots the puck straight out of play or a tip goes straight out, previously the draw would take place outside of the zone, if this rule passes it’ll stay in the zone. It feels like we are letting poor play off the hook. Take a terrible shot, make a horrible tip, throw a disastrous pass, you should pay a price. It was a minimal price of moving the puck outside of the zone, but a price nonetheless.
Regular Season Tie-breakers – The Committee recommends adoption of a proposal that would modify existing regular season tie-breaking procedures and adding additional criteria.
For a minute there I got excited because I saw the word tie and thought “maybe they are actually changing the points system.” But, no. Instead, they’ll probably be adding something into tiebreak procedure which currently is only three deep.
Right now here’s how the tiebreakers work to decide who makes the NHL Playoffs.
- The greater number of games won, excluding games won in the Shootout. This figure is reflected in the ROW column.
- The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any “odd” games, shall be used to determine the standing.
- The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season. NOTE: In standings a victory in a shootout counts as one goal for, while a shootout loss counts as one goal against.
The new rule will likely add a fourth or even fifth criteria that will probably never actually come into play. So, for the most part, who cares? But, when in doubt, add more tiebreakers, because nothing is worse than the dreaded coin flip.