Hey NHL R&D: Stop killing hockey!

08.19.10

The NHL research and development camp is testing a series of potential new rules, with the aim of deciding which ones – if any – should be rolled out during the regular season.

Here’s my recommendation: None of them.

With the possible exception of no-touch icing – which is long overdue – most of these new rules would just fix things that aren’t broken, or turn the NHL into a laughingstock. I mean, two-on-two overtime? No icing while shorthanded? I realise that R&D camp is a chance to try out wacky ideas, but seriously, what are they smoking over there in Ontario?

Meanwhile, the proposed new rules do nothing to address the problems that were introduced with the last round of rule changes, such as teams playing for the shoot-out, ugly hits from behind, and malicious intent to injure.

What I’d like to see? Well, for starters, let’s eliminate the shoot-out during the regular season and go back to ties if it’s still even after OT. The shoot-out can be moved to the post-season, where it can be used to replace marathon games that go on until one of the teams drops of exhaustion. Next, let’s add some zero-tolerance rules for illegal hits that carry penalties that actually mean something. And finally, let’s encourage exciting games by respecting the game and its traditions, unless provided with a compelling reason not to.

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