On September 11, the NHL announced new rules that will go into effect this season, which are designed to allow for more goal-scoring opportunities — read on for a breakdown and analysis of the changes:
The trapezoid will now be expanded by two feet on each side. This will allow goalies more room to come out and handle the puck, leading to more turnovers and most likely goals. The goalie coming out to play the puck more frequently will help to protect defenseman from those nasty hits into the boards that have been more prevalent the last few years. I still wish they would get rid of the whole trapezoid though, as it would make for some more interesting dump-ins.
The NHL has eliminated the spin-o-rama in shootouts altogether. I’m not a fan of this one, as it limits the moves players can use in a shootout. Isn’t the shootout supposed to be a skills competition? Why say to a player “you can’t use that move” if he has the skills to pull it off? It takes away an exciting, skill-oriented aspect from what is a mostly pointless portion of the game. Instead, maybe the NHL could start using international shootout rules, where players can shoot multiple times. Now that would be interesting.
Tripping on Breakaway
Players are no longer allowed to trip a player on a breakaway, even if they get the puck first. Previously, a player could dive in front of an opposing player on a breakaway, effectively tripping him, as long as the player on the breakaway touched the puck first. I don’t think this is a very good idea, simply because it takes a great deal of skill and awareness to knock the puck off a player on a breakaway instead of simply tripping him up. However, I’m not that upset about this rule, because who doesn’t want to see more breakaways?
The NHL can now give out fines for players who dive and embellish, but it’s not a big enough fine, in my opinion. Two thousand dollars is a drop in the bucket for a guy making $4 million a year, and that fine only happens on the second offence; the first garners a nice little warning. And why is the coach getting fined? He starts getting fined after a player’s fourth offence, but he’s not the one diving, and he’s probably not telling the guy on the bench to snap his head back.
After an icing call, a team can now be penalized for trying to delay a faceoff — a much needed rule change. GMs and coaches must have gotten sick of players essentially cheating on icings and going unpunished, and doing so in plain sight no less. Plus, it’s good for the fan; I was tired of watching games where the faceoffs took twice as long because a guy intentionally waived himself out. Now with the threat of a penalty, at least a player has to think twice before cheating.