NHL RDO Camp: The good, the bad, the weird

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

So, what did we learn when the NHL held it’s RDO Camp in Toronto.  Well, they didn’t restrict the amount of things that they talked about.  Everything from hybrid icing to potentially having a referee up in Foster Hewitt’s gondola trading barbs with Jim Hughson during play.  Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but they didn’t hold back on being creative.  Here is my take on what they proposed and if it could work.

Proposal:  “Hybrid” Icing

A “hybrid” of no touch icing and touch icing. During a potential icing, the linesman, by the time the first man reaches the face off dot, will determine which player would reach the puck first. If it is determined to be the attacking player, icing is waved off. If it is the defending player, icing is blown immediately. (Tie goes to the defender) It basically enables on-ice officials to whistle the play dead avoiding a dangerous collision at the end boards.

Rationale

The hybrid icing keeps the excitement and hustle of touch icing while eliminating many of the dangerous collisions with the end boards.

Yay or Nay

Yay.  The prevention of injuries is more important than the one or two races for the puck down the ice and it seems like a compromise to no touch icing.

Proposal:  No Change after Off Side

Description

A team that has been ruled off side, shall not be permitted to make any player substitutions prior to the ensuing face-off.

Rationale

The inability to make any player substitutions will not only keep “tired” players on the ice but will also keep coaches from getting desired match ups. It is believed this combination will potentially lead to more offense.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  Offsides are circumstantial not intentional..and we already have an intentional icing rule.  Compromise is to have the no line change on intentional icing.

Proposal:  Crease Reset Rule

If an attacking player establishes a significant presence in the goal crease or if an attacking player physically or visually prevents the goal keeper from defending his goal while standing in the goal crease, play shall be blown dead and the face off will be at the nearest Neutral Zone face off spot.

Rationale

This is an effort to further protect the goal keeper and also stop play before an illegal goal is scored .

Yay or Nay

Yay.  Keeping players from interfering with the goalie is fine with me.  As long as players not interfering still have opportunity to go into the crease to score.

Proposal:  Face-Off Variation (Controlled by whistle rather than traditional puck drop)

After both centermen take their appropriate positions, the puck will be placed on the face off dot and the face off will commence on the official’s whistle.

Rationale

This is one of three “face-off variations” we will be testing in an effort to restore the fairness and integrity of the face off.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  Nothing wrong with present face off.  It does inhibit cheating on the faceoff, but I don’t see any tangible benefits.

Proposal:  Overtime (Three minutes of 4 on 4, followed by three minutes of 3 on 3 and finally three minutes of 2 on 2.)

The length of the overtime period will be increased to nine total minutes. (Three segments lasting three minutes each.) The segments will start with 4 on 4 play, go down to 3 on 3 and ultimately finishing with 2 on 2.

Rationale

With the number of tied games being settled in Overtime on a steady decline, it is believed that the extra ice created by 3 on 3 & 2 on 2 play will lead to more goals scored in Overtime.

Yay or Nay

Undecided. It is intriguing, but I think more testing would need to be done, such as a year in the AHL.

Proposal:  Shoot Out (5 Man Shoot Out)

5 Players from each team shall participate in the Shoot Out and they shall proceed in such order as the coach selects. After each team has taken 5 shots, if the score remains tied, the shoot out will proceed to a “sudden death” format. No player may shoot twice until everyone who is eligible has shot.

Rationale

This is one of three Shoot Out formats that we will be testing throughout the camp to further explore the pros and cons of all the different variations.

Yay or Nay

Yay. I have always prefered 5 man shoot outs.

Proposal:  Nets (Shallow back)

The shallow net features a 40″ inch deep frame compared to the 44″ inch frame that we currently use.

Rationale

The shallow net provides more ice behind the net and also makes it easier for wrap around attempts.

Yay or Nay

Yay.  Depth of nets has no bearing on the game compared to amount of ice surface to play on.

Proposal:  Bigger Crease

The crease that will be used in this session is enlarged proportionally in all directions 3″ inches.

Rationale

Added protection of the goal keeper.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  As long as the rules are presently enforced, the goalie is protected.

Proposal: Verification Line

The Verification Line is a yellow line parallel to the goal line, set back slightly more than 3″ inches (size of the puck) from the goal line.

Rationale

The line will aide the officials during goal reviews to determine if the puck has crossed the goal line. In the event there is something (water bottle, etc) blocking the view of the goal line, this line could be used to “verify” that the puck has completely crossed the goal line. (The line is slightly further back than the size of the puck, therefore if the puck is in contact with it, a goal would be awarded)

Yay or Nay

Easier to get it right.  A yellow line in the net will have no bearing on the viewing of the game.

Proposal: Wider Blue Lines

Blue lines that are twice as wide as usual. (24″ rather than 12″). The inner edge, or D-zone edge, remains in the same spot.

Rationale

Once the attacking team gains the blue line, the Offensive zone becomes larger without making the Neutral zone any smaller.

Yay or Nay

When Bobby Smith first suggested it, I was on board, and still am.  Increasing the size of the attacking zone means time and space for skilled players.

Proposal: Line Change Zone in Front Of Each Bench

This is a shaded area painted on the ice that extends 5′ feet out for the length of the players benches.

Rationale

This shaded area will aide the on ice officials to determine when a retiring player is within the legal 5′ foot distance from the bench before being substituted for.

Yay or Nay

Stops the cheating line change and less confusion on the ice.

Proposal: 3 Face Off Circles in Middle of Ice

Each zone will have only one face off circle and it will be in the middle of that zone.

Rationale

There are two potential benefits to the relocation of the face off circles. Generally, this may move play back to the middle of the ice & away from the periphery. It is also an effort to limit whistles. It’s believed that teams may keep play moving rather than have a face off right in front of their own net.

Yay or Nay

BIG NAY.  Don’t like it at all.  I like what Bruce Boudreau said.  Looks like a big cyclops.

Proposal: Face-Off Variation

If a player is deemed to have committed a face-off violation, he will be required to move back and keep his skates behind a “penalty line” (1′ foot further back) which will cause a loss of leverage and therefore loss of strength for the ensuing face off.

Rationale

This is one of three “face-off variations” we will be testing in an effort to restore the fairness and integrity of the face off.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  Throw out a guy trying to cheat on the faceoff like we have always done.

Proposal: No Icing Permitted while Short Handed

Teams will be whistled for icing and therefore not permitted to make player substitutions, even while short handed.

Rationale

Why do we reward a team for breaking one rule by allowing them to temporarily break another?

Yay or Nay

This is key to the penalty kill.  Killing time off the clock.  Taking the option away is too draconian.

Proposal:  Overtime *Switch Ends*

Same format to the one used in session #1 with the added wrinkle of switching ends, therefore creating a long change.

Rationale

With the number of tied games being settled in Overtime on a steady decline, it is believed that the extra ice created by 3 on 3 & 2 on 2 play in combination with the long change will lead to more goals scored in Overtime. (Over the past 10 seasons 37% of all goals in regulation were scored in the 2nd period compared to 30% in the 1st period and 33% in the 3rd period. We can only assume the long change is a major reason for the increased scoring in the 2nd period)

Yay or Nay

Yay. Long change I like.  Makes the teams think about changes, more space on ice means tired players/coaches have to use shift management.

Proposal:  Shoot Out (Unlimited shooting)

3 Players from each team shall participate in the Shoot Out and they shall proceed in such order as the coach selects. After each team has taken 3 shots, if the score remains tied, the shoot out will proceed to a “sudden death” format. Players may shoot as often as coach desires in sudden death round.

Rationale

Like IIHF formats the most skilled players would be able to shoot again and again.  Unsure of why they are suggesting this.

Yay or Nay

Nay. Same player more than once makes it too individual which is why most purists complain about the shootout already.  Marek Malik anyone?

Proposal:  Nets

The nets used in this session will feature red mesh as opposed to white.

Rationale

A player who is looking for an opening to shoot, will see the red mesh easier than the white mesh which blends in with the white ice and white boards.

Yay or Nay

Nay. I think it will be visually awful to watch.

Proposal:  “No Touch” Icing

For the purpose of this rule proposal, “icing the puck” is completed the instant the puck has crossed the goal line.

Rationale

Eliminate dangerous collisions.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  I like the Hybrid idea to allow for some chases, but this would reduce some excitement for sure.

Proposal:  No Change after Off Side & Face off goes back to offending team’s end.

A team that has been ruled off side, shall not be permitted to make any player substitutions prior to the ensuing face-off which will now be in back their own end.

Rationale

The inability to make any situations, keeping tired players on the ice, in addition to the face off coming back into their own end will potentially lead to more goal scoring.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  See above….offsides are circumstantial and we already have a solid intentional offiside rule.

Proposal:  Crease Reset Rule

If an attacking player establishes a significant presence in the goal crease or if an attacking player physically or visually prevents the goal keeper from defending his goal while standing in the goal crease, play shall be blown dead and the face off will be at the nearest Neutral Zone face off spot.

Rationale

This is an effort to further protect the goal keeper and also stop play before an illegal goal is scored .

Yay or Nay

Yay. Keeping players from interfering with the goalie is fine with me.  As long as players not interfering still have opportunity to go into the crease to score.

Proposal:  Face Off Variation (After a violation, opponent picks next centerman)

If a player is deemed to have committed a face-off violation he will be chased from the ensuing face off and the non offending team gets to pick the next centerman.

Rationale

This is one of three “face-off variations” we will be testing in an effort to restore the fairness and integrity of the face off.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  If you are in the offensive zone and you get waived, it makes a centreman pull a blueliner from position to take a faceoff?  Terrible.

Proposal:  Second Referee located off the playing surface

One of the two referees will be located off the ice on an elevated platform.

Rationale

The potential benefits of this change are that it will not only create more room on the ice but also provide a better vantage point to spot infractions.

Yay or Nay

Nay.  If you  want an off ice official, add one.  Better yet, let McGuire make calls from his “Monster Vantage Point”

Proposal:  Delayed Penalty Rule

A team who has committed an infraction of the rules but does not have possession of the puck, needs to not only gain possession of the puck but also get the puck out of their zone before the referee blows his whistle to stop play and impose the penalty on the offending player.

Rationale

The extra time it will take a team to clear their zone, will be more time the non offending team will have with an extra attacker which will provide more offense.

Yay or Nay

The idea of continuously finding ways to penalize teams to create scoring is riduculous.  If it is all about scoring, make the game 4 on 4.  Which I don’t like either.

Proposal:  Nets (Plexiglass or thin mesh on top)

Same dimensions as current nets with thinner mesh or plexiglass on top of the net.

Rationale

Easier to see a puck going over the line.

Yay or Nay

Yay to thinner mesh, Nay to Plexiglass.  The glass is bound to break, or cause bounces.  Mesh will accomplish same.
All in all  I like the proactive way the NHL is approaching rule changes.  Don’t let the game get out of hand before tweeking the rules.

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