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Two rule changes will force players to be more careful with their hands

Jun 19, 2012, 10:46 PM EDT

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Along with approving the Toronto Maple Leafs sale and other topics, the NHL’s Board of Governors announced two rule changes that essentially force players to be a bit more careful with their hands. (Apologies to obstruction-fearing fans who want changes, though. This isn’t about that.)

“Concealing the puck”

Rule 67.2 has been altered to keep players from closing their hands on the puck and skating with it when it’s in the air. A player can still catch a puck in the opposing zone, but he’ll get a minor penalty if he moves with it in his gloved hand. Here’s how the league worded it:

“A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for “closing his hand on the puck.”

Batting the puck out of the faceoff circle

Along similar lines, a player can no longer win a faceoff by desperately (or sneakily?) bat the puck out of a faceoff with his hands. Here’s the official description:

“Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off. Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shall result in a minor penalty. This penalty shall be announced as a “Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation.” Once the face-off is deemed complete (and winner of the face-off is clear), hand passes shall be enforced as per Rule 79.”

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The two alterations are perfectly logical and share a theme: forcing players to advance the puck with their sticks rather than their gloved hands. These aren’t game-changes, but I like the tweaks. What do you think?

  1. stakex - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    The first rule just clarifies an existing rule. Players shouldn’t be able to catch a puck and make a movie with it, so I don’t have much issue with it.

    The second rule on the other hand is a real joke. There is no reason a defensive player shouldn’t be able to hand pass the puck to win a faceoff. Clearly this is just another example of the NHL looking for ways to invent penelties to incrase scoring which is something I have big issues with.

    • miketoasty - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM

      I disagree with your second point, it gives the defending team an unfair advantage on the faceoff that I’m sure wasn’t intended.

      I agree with you on the first rule though.

      • hystoracle - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        Agree with you. But I can see the second rule being selectively enforced. It is hard to see into those scrums at the faceoff dot sometimes. The part of the rule that states “Once the face-off is deemed complete” is up to interpretation by the referees. These striped bozos have a hard enough time as it is.

    • jrmehle - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      I also disagree with your second point. Hockey is played with sticks, not hands. This is equivalent to kicking a goal in. It’s not particularly harmful to the game, but it’s just not hockey.

      • miketoasty - Jun 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. jrmehle - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    It will be interesting to see if this affects any centermen’s faceoff win percentages. I know certain players have a reputation for batting the puck with their hand more than others.

  3. barkar942 - Jun 20, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    I personally disagree with the entire “you can move the puck with your hand in the defensive zone” rule.
    I remember when that rule first came in, I questioned why. I still think the entire rule should be tossed. Hockey pucks are to be moved with sticks or your skates, not your hands.
    Does anyone know where there is a good explanation of why this rule went into effect in the first place? There is way too much movement of the puck now in the defensive zone.

    • dolanster - Jun 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Agree. Hand passes should be illegal everywhere on ice.

  4. fleshybear - Jun 20, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    I do like the rule change on the face off, the previous rule gives a defensive player a clear advantage. i would like to some changes with goalie interference before they start flopping more then they already do.

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