the most successful hockey job he ever had.
First held in 2005 and re-introduced as an annual event last year, the RDO camp gives the league's hockey operations department an opportunity to test changes during live game scenarios. Some of those changes will become permanent, while most will provide a few hours' worth of raised eyebrows before being forgotten.
But while the final schedule of planned experiments has been widely reported, it turns out the original list was slightly different. I've come into possession of a top-secret league memo addressed to Shanahan that outlines some additional proposals that apparently didn't quite make the final cut.
Below please find a list of rules I'd like to see tested at the upcoming RDO camp. Some of these came from folks I've been talking to around the league, and others are my own ideas. I know you're working on your own list, so it's your call on which ones you go with in the end.
And of course, if you think any of my ideas are so good they should skip the RDO altogether and just go straight into the rulebook, that's fine too. I can totally make that happen.
- To cut down on premeditated "payback" brawls, refuse to allow players to fight after a faceoff unless they can produce a handwritten permission note from Mario Lemieux.
- Comprehensively test the new headshot rules, and then survey the players afterwards to see if they feel like they understand them; if any of them do, back to the drawing board.
- Consider banning any music from being played inside the arena at any time, because it might interrupt your neighbour's precious beauty sleep and then they'll call the cops on you. (Idea suggested by Sean Avery.)
- Remove the trapezoid behind the net in an effort to increase/decrease whatever it is that having a trapezoid behind the net was supposed to decrease/increase in the first place.
- As an experiment, try going an entire 60-minute game without calling the Vancouver Canucks for a single penalty, icing or offside, just to find out what they'll whine about afterwards instead.
- Not really an on-ice rule change, but we should definitely increase pension payouts for players who retire when they're 36. Uh, no reason. (Idea suggested by Brad Richards.)
- To assist with video replay, add a yellow "verification" line which is exactly one puck's length behind the goal line for 29 teams, and exactly one puck's length plus a few inches behind the goal line for whichever net the Sabres are shooting at.
- Given recent personnel changes in the league head office, maybe have one of the referees try calling a penalty on Gregory Campbell just to see what would happen.
- Consider cracking down on obstruction penalties and eliminating the red line. (Idea suggested by Daniel Carcillo.)
- Increase scoring by forcing goalies to be more aggressive about playing the puck rather than freezing it, because if video games have taught us anything it's that every pass ever attempted by a goaltender goes directly onto the stick of an opponent standing right in front of the open net.
- Spend as much time as possible tinkering with the way offsides work, because if there's one thing that NHL fans are always complaining about, it's the way offsides work.
- I don't know, maybe try some sort of rule against biting?
- Consider trying the curly fries instead of the regular fries, everyone says they're really good. I'll be right back with your drinks. What's the RDO? (Idea suggested by Alexei Yashin.)
- Try having a fan dressed in white occasionally stand up and move his arms around, just to see if we can get some coverage on ESPN for a change.