In the latest edition of The Hockey News, the main focus of the cover story is how the NHL game could be changed. THN asked various current and retired players along with coaches and team announcers to comment on what changes should be made. In the spirit of that feature, I have come up with 10 changes that I would like to see made in the NHL. The first 5 will be covered in this article and is part one of a 2-part series.
- Point System: I would eliminate the loser point entirely. Two points should be awarded for any win and zero points are taken for any loss.
- Overtime Rules: In the spirit of change number one, I would extend overtime from five minutes to 10 minutes. Shootouts are still inevitable since ties are even worse. At least without the 3-point system there is more incentive to win the game in an extended overtime period.
- Full No-Touch Icing: It’s time. With the NHL cracking down on injuries, the league has already decided to move to a hybrid icing rule of a race to the faceoff circle hash marks. It is a step in the right direction but it is not far enough. No touch icing has worked well internationally and in the Juniors for years; it will work in the pros too.
- Speed Up Faceoffs: This one is a simple fix. Linesmen need to just drop the puck. Watching the linesman wait, pump-fake dropping it, separating the centermen, then throwing out one of them, then throwing out another is excruciating. The precedent should be when both players are lined up appropriately the puck is immediately dropped. If someone takes too long to get into the faceoff circle, drop it anyway.
- Discourage Diving: Also a simple rule change. All diving penalties should be double-minors. This puts all divers at risk for putting their team on the PK. With the rules now, if you get away with it your team has a PP, if you don’t; the worst that happens is a 4-on-4. Diving is bad for the integrity of any sport and should be punished more severely.
NOTE: Part two can be found here.