Thursday, December 16, 2021

Powerplays that don’t end on a goal? Extended overtime? Goals worth double? NHL Rules Court is in session

If you’re a fan of the NHL, you know the drill. The game is good, but it could be better, and you know exactly how to make that happen. If the league would just change one or two or a few dozen rules, they’d have a better product. And you’re sure that everyone would agree with you, if you just had a chance to make your case.

Now you do. Welcome to NHL Rules Court.

The concept is simple. You, the readers, come up with ideas for new or adjusted rules you’d like to see in the NHL. They can be small tweaks or seismic changes, reasonable or outrageous or anywhere in between. You send them in, and they’ll be considered by a jury of Sean Gentille, Sean McIndoe and Ian Mendes. Convince at least two of us, and your rule is passed and goes into the NHL rulebook.

Well, we’re still working on that last part. The league is being weird about returning our phone calls. For now, this is all for fun. Consider it a dry run for when they smarten up and put us in charge.

Court is in session. Let’s see what you came up.

Note: Submissions have been edited for clarity and style.

One rule change I’d propose would be that all penalties go full duration regardless of any goals scored. This would include any goals scored on a delayed penalty not cancelling out the PP, which is already a rule in the NCAA.

Logically a penalty is a penalty, why is it cancelled out because the opposition was successful at doing the thing they are supposed to do? – Stephen D.

Gentille: This seems like the single easiest “yes” on the board, right? We already have potentially unlimited goals on major penalties, so this isn’t much of a jump. If you can run up the score in two minutes, or after a delayed call, so be it. To the penalty-drawer goes the spoils. A minor concern, though: that officials would be even less apt to make calls in high-leverage situations out of their own distaste for giving a team that many bites at the apple. YES

Mendes: I’m worried the most about Gentille’s last point: That referees – who are already reluctant to call penalties in tight spots – would push that whistle even deeper down into their pockets under this scenario. Suddenly, calling a two-minute minor late in the game could have an even bigger swing in momentum.

So here is my proposed compromise: Don’t wipe out minor penalties when a team scores a goal during a delayed call. I’ve never understood why a minor penalty gets wiped out when a team pulls their goalie for an extra attacker and then scores. Under this compromise, you’re now allowing teams to score multiple goals off one infraction.

But in regards to this specific rule change as outlined above, I’ll take a pass because I just don’t trust the officiating. And I don’t want to see a team scored on twice because their defenceman accidentally put the puck over the glass. NO

McIndoe: Yep, Ian has it exactly right – with any new rule, we have to be afraid of the unintended consequences. This proposal comes up at a lot and it seems to make sense. But in reality, we’d have refs who were even more terrified to make a call than they are now. You think they’re hesitant to call a minor late in a game when it might lead to a key goal? Imagine it could lead to three. This rule worked fine for a long time in the early days of this league, but I just don’t trust weak-kneed modern refs not to ruin this one. NO

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