There’s always talk about the NHL and possible rule changes. The media, owners, players and fans are forever talking about them, whether it be something major or little tweaks.
With that being said, I thought I would offer 10 rule changes I would like to see that I think would improve the game.
Keep in mind, not all of them have to do with on-ice play, but are things I believe would be better for the game.
Let me know what you think, or if there are any rules changes you think need to be implemented.
So, without further ado…
It shouldn't take more than two minutes to decide if a referee made the right call.
10.) Replays can only be two minutes: Nothing is worse than when a team starts coming back, scores a goal to tie the game, and the referees have to go to the video replay. What’s worse is when it sometimes takes seven minutes or so to make a decision. It kills all momentum, takes the crowd out of it, and makes the people watching on TV want to switch to another channel. Instead, the NHL should do what the NFL does: Impose a time limit. If a ruling can’t be done within two minutes, it goes back to the referee’s original call.
9.) No icing on penalty kill: Icing isn’t allowed in the game when it’s even-strength. Why change that when there’s a penalty? Offsides aren’t magically gone during those two minutes. Hooking isn’t allowed. Why allow another part of the game to be changed to a team’s advantage when they are the ones that committed the penalty? Yes, the team is already at a disadvantage being a man down, but why give them an opportunity to ice the puck at every opportunity? The NHL HAS already started in this direction by not allowing teams to change players for icing the puck when playing five on five, but it’s time to take it to the next step. If the NHL wants to increase scoring, this would be a great way. The team on the powerplay can change its lines to be fresh while the penalty-killers can’t. It doesn’t allow teams to kill the clock, thereby giving the powerplay team more time in the offensive zone.
The Montreal Canadiens do retirement ceremonies right. (CP photo)
8.) All pre-game ceremonies must start early, and then have the warm-up for players: It doesn’t make sense to have teams warm-up for 30 minutes with a pre-game skate, only to have them sit on the bench for long-winded ceremonies. The Montreal Canadiens do it right. Do the ceremony early. Then allow players to skate, warm up, and start the game on the right foot, instead of the teams spending the first part of a game not into it because they’ve cooled off.
7.) Retiring jerseys can only be done in games where the opposing team has some sort of rivalry: I blogged about this a few months ago (see here), and it still applied. It wouldn’t make sense to retire Patrick Roy’s jersey before a game against Columbus, but the Bruins made perfect sense because of all the playoff matches and the fact they’ve been division rivals for so long. They should all do this.
6.) Only one national anthem allowed to be sang, and must be sang by the crowd: I also blogged about this (click here). I think you would eliminate the booing and the controversy that happens once every couple of years when some fans decide to be stupid and boo the other country’s national anthem. Also, get rid of the singer. Most of them are become too over the top anyways (just look at Lyndon Slewidge in Ottawa). Allow the crowd to sing it on their own. It’s a great thing to watch and listen to.
No more third jerseys!
5.) No third jerseys allowed: It’s all a cash-grab. The Ottawa Senators have had three third jerseys in the past five years. Enough is enough. Most of the third jerseys are ugly. Either change your uniforms or don’t. If you want to do something different, change your home jersey or away jersey, but no more third jersey for teams that will wear them for six games the whole year.
4.) No free agents can be signed after Nov. 1: Enough of this garbage of players waiting until the season is halfway through before deciding if they want to play and where they want to play. It screws up teams and leaves fans frustrated, which isn’t a good thing. If they want to play with a contender, then they have to figure out who those contenders are before the season is more than three weeks old.
3.) If it’s a penalty for too many men, goalie penalty, etc., the other teams gets to choose who sits in the box from who is on the ice: Why should the team committing the penalty be allowed to choose who sits? Look at this example. Just say the Senators have Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Danny Heatley, Jason Smith and Chris Phillips on the ice when Alex Auld commits a penalty. Why should the Sens decide that Spezza is in the box? Instead, give the advantage to the other team. They could choose one of the defencemen, or Alfredsson, one of the team’s best penalty-killers to be in the box. This would help improve goals, and make the game more exciting.
Time to deal with agitators
2.) Agitators have to be dealt with, so one free punch allowed: Okay, maybe not that extreme, but something needs to be done so guys can’t just be stupid on the ice all the time with no repercussions. I’d say get rid of the instigator penalty on plays where an illegal hit was given. If a guy instigates a fight for no reason, then I say he should get the extra penalty. But if a guy is protecting a teammate, no extra penalty. I wouldn’t want to get rid of the instigator penalty completely, because I think players shouldn’t be starting fights after a legal hit. If a guy can’t take a good check, he shouldn’t be in the NHL.
1.) All high sticking penalties are five minutes and gone from the game: The same goes for boarding calls and elbowing penalties. Enough of this nonsense of referees using their discretion. If a guy gets a high-sticking penalty, five minutes and gone from the game. Eventually, players will learn to keep their sticks down and would help reduce injuries. Or if a guy doesn’t learn, he wouldn’t be playing much, as a team can’t afford to keep getting five-minute penalties all the time.