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The one rule the NHL Research & Development Camp should be testing but isn’t

Aug 9, 2011, 4:14 PM EDT

2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp Getty Images

With the NHL rule book being deep enough to cover most instances of play that go on, trying to find new ways of doing things makes sense. With everything they’re working on at this year’s camp, however, there’s one rule tweak that isn’t being examined closer and we’re curious why Brendan Shanahan and company aren’t looking it over.

You’ve seen it happen during a game too many times. A team is trying to play the puck out of their defensive end and a player tries to bounce the puck off the glass and send it down the ice. Instead of putting the puck off the glass and clearing it down for a likely icing call, they miss the glass completely and put the puck in the stands. In the days before the NHL lockout, that would just result in a faceoff in that team’s end while both teams could make changes. Now it’s a minor penalty for the offending player that put the puck off the rink and that’s not right.

Punishing players that do it on purpose to relieve pressure with two minutes in the box and making their team have to kill off a penalty is something we agree with. If you bust a guy that’s absolutely doing it on purpose, then by all means put him in the box. Our issue with the way it’s called, however, lies with how it’s a blanket call. No matter how it ends up over the glass, it’s a penalty. How many times can you count during the season where it’s a player doing it unintentionally that gets booked for a call? Too many to count for our liking and handing out power plays like candy does nothing to solve the issue with flow of the game.

Our solution to this is to treat the puck over the glass as if it was icing. The team dumping the puck into the crowd wouldn’t be allowed to change lines while play is stopped and the faceoff would end up in their end of the ice giving their opponents the offensive starting place they would get whether it was the old rules or the new rules. Since teams that would be putting the puck out of play on purpose would be doing it for the same reason a team would ice the puck, why not just treat it the same way?

Giving out penalties to help boost scoring is something that helped the NHL come flying back out of the lockout. Penalties were at an all-time high thanks to the NHL reemphasizing the rule book and teams piled on the goals at the man advantage. Giving out needless penalties for plays that aren’t even meant to get an edge feels counterproductive to keeping the pace of the game going.

The other side of this is how it works in the playoffs. We know the officials swallow the whistles more in the postseason and we’ve come to accept that. The one time they don’t do it, however, is on plays where the puck is put over the glass. After seeing players get interfered with all over the ice, high sticks missed, and all sorts of other malicious and purposeful illegal activities without a call the puck over the glass call is made every time.

That makes things a bit screwed up and if it’s those calls that officials need to have happen in order to give a team a power play in the playoffs, that’s got more to do with how they’re calling the game and not the rules themselves. Instead of having the added nonsensical controversy, we can just have it treated the way we do icing and call it a day. After all, the last thing anyone wants to see is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals end up in overtime only to be decided because a defenseman missed hitting the glass with the puck by an inch on an attempted dump out of the zone.

Stop the madness, get rid of this foolish penalty.

  1. cjn728 - Aug 9, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Should we also only penalize high sticks that are “obviously intentional”? Most are accidental.
    The rule is set up to make guys keep the puck low at all custs, thus increasing the chances of it being stopped at the blue line, thus increasing the chances of goals being scored.
    Any let up on this rule will lead to an “acceptable” amount of game delay and game slow down I don’t want either of those things. .

    • stakex - Aug 9, 2011 at 8:00 PM

      Wrong. The NHL was looking for any and all ways to make up new penelties after the lockout. More penelty calls = more goals…. or so the theory goes. It never had a whole lot to do with a desire for guys to keep the puck lower. Even if that was the desire (it wasn’t) its not working.

      As for game slow down, your also wrong. If anything, this rule is slowing play down itself. Lets be clear… there was no issue with guys throwing the puck into the crowd on purpose before this rule was put in place. In fact, there was always a rule on the books for intentionaly throwing the puck out of play…. so adding this rule was never going to cut down on the amount of pucks put over the glass. Thus, this rule is NOT speeding play up at all. In fact, its working the other way around. Now, instead of just being a quick faceoff afterward… it leads to a powerplay, which itself can lead to slower play (more goalie stoppages, more pucks dumped down the ice, more stoppages from goals).

      Not to mention the zero tollerance nature of the rule means teams can be penelized for this idiotic rule at the worst time… like during playoff overtime games. That would be a hell of a way to lose a game now wouldn’t it?


      Side Note: High sticking is a penelty no matter what because you can really hurt someone with your stick. If you smack someone in the face, its a penelty because your hitting another player in the damn face. How does that at all compare to accidently throwing a puck over the glass? There is such a difference between the two, that might have been the worst comparisson I have ever heard.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 9, 2011 at 10:21 PM

        solid response, although you shouldnt have wasted so much time on a guy that obviously started watching hockey in the last few years and obviously has no idea what the games about. anyone that likes this rule is NOT a hockey fan or even a reasonable person. with the exception of taking out the red line on passes the post-lockout rule changes were complete foolishness by a midget whose intelligence rivals Ralph Wiggum. get Gary a job more suited to him like grocery bagger or gas station attendant

  2. islandersfan - Aug 9, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    One other one I would love to see is the no touch icing rule. Every year a number of guys get hurt from rushing towards the boards and its just not necessary.

    • derpdederpdederp - Aug 9, 2011 at 10:24 PM

      Cherry has been pushing for that for years. Unfortunately asking Gary Bettman to think logically is like asking a fish to dance: even if he somehow understood the request hed have no clue how to do it

  3. derpdederpdederp - Aug 9, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    Completely agree, its a ridiculous rule put in place soley to generate more PPG. its like penalizing offsides or icing. Don Cherry always says its gonna cost a team the Cup. it already cost Canada a world championship (not that that tourny matters), a commisioner with a middle school education would never have put this rule in or at least wouldve gotten rid of it by now. I guess to Gary more goals is a good thing even if they are pathetic gifts

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