Friday, June 20, 2008

Rule Changes for the 2008-2009 Season

The NHL board of governors recently adopted three rule changes for the upcoming 2008-2009 NHL season. The focus of these rule mainly regarded the placement of face-offs following the whistle in certain situations.

The first change is to rule 76.2, which determines the face-off position after a penalty is called. It used to be that when the team about to be penalized touched the puck, the ensuing face-off would take place in the closest face-off circle as long as it wasn't in their offensive zone. The rule now states that the first face-off of a powerplay will take place inside the penalized team's defensive zone, no matter where they touched the puck. I do not like this rule change because I feel like it's extremely unfair to the penalized team. Yes, they did just commit a penalty, but the team going on the powerplay already has enough of an advantage, they don't need one more offensive zone draw. The rule is also not clear on what happens if the touch up is on an icing call. Which face-off takes precedence? The new rule or the icing?

The second rule that was changed dealt with the way icings are handled. For years commentators have talked about how dangerous it is for two players to go racing full tilt for the puck. One of the Minnesota Wild defensemen actually broke his leg on a play like this in March. Rule 81.1 now says that any contact between two players going for an icing is only allowed if they are going for the puck. Any dangerous or unnecessary hits are now subject to penalties. The idea of the no-touch icing was tossed around, but it got no real support. This is a rule I like, it's being put in place to try and protect the players and it shouldn't have that much effect on the flow of the game, which is nice. So I applaud this change to the rulebook.

The final rule that has been changed is 85.5. It used to be that if the attacking team shot the puck and it deflected off the post or crossbar and into the crowd, the ensuing face-off would be moved outside of the zone. However, now if this happens, the face-off will remain inside the zone. I'm not a big fan of this change either. Why should a player be rewarded for missing the net? It's not the defending team's fault that the shooter cannot hit the goalie with his shot, so why should they be punished for that?

Anyways, so there is a quick rundown of the rule changes that we will be seeing next year... any questions?

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