Brendan Shanahan is heading up the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation Camp that has been taking place over the last two days in Toronto. Obviously Shanahan is well known for his career spanning 21 years in the NHL, but he’s graduated to NHL executive lately. The Research, Development and Orientation Camp is the NHL’s way to explore new potential rules for possible implementation into the big leagues. They’ve invited a collection of 2011 NHL Draft invitees to play some scrimmage games with these new rules, and the experimentation began.
So what kind of rules are they kicking around? Actually quite a collection, although to be honest a large majority of them are probably never going to happen. Regardless, let’s take a look at some of the rules they’re playing with these last couple days:
- “Hybrid” Icing – During potential icing, the linesman will determine which player will reach the puck first. Icing is called (or not) at that point. Effectively the goal is to eliminate the high-speed crash-test dummy effect as the players are racing for the puck. It could prevent some of the long-term injuries from a player getting knocked headfirst into the board. Rink Royalty verdict – Thumbs Up.
- No Change After Off-Side – Pretty straight forward. After off-side there will be no line changes allowed for the team that committed the offside infraction. Unfortunately it bizarrely punishes a team for what is often a split second, slight mis-calculation. Perhaps if it was limited to intentional off-side I could get behind this one. Rink Royalty – Thumbs Down.
- Face-Off Variation #1 – The puck will be placed on the face off dot, and the face-off will occur at a whistle, rather than upon the drop of the puck. I’m not sure this gets much of an advantage, but I suppose it could be an interesting way to minimize the jostling that occurs prior to the puck being dropped. Rink Royalty verdict – Who cares?
- Overtime – The new overtime procedure would have three minutes of 4 on 4, followed by three minutes of 3 on 3, followed by three minutes of 2 on 2. It would be a pretty interesting way to avoid so many of the awful shootouts, and it could be a very interesting game to watch when it becomes 2 on 2. Rink Royalty verdict – Thumbs Up.
- Face-Off Variation #2 – When a centerman gets kicked out of the circle, the player that remains gets to pick his opponent. Obviously the goal of this rule change is to allow the non-offending player and team a significant advantage. It would also probably eliminate the strategy of putting two face-off players on the ice at the end of the game, in case one gets the boot (since the opponent would likely not pick that player for obviously reasons). It seems like a genuinely interesting rule-change, though I may need to see how it works first… maybe pre-season? Rink Royalty verdict – Thumbs Tentatively Up.
- No Icing When Short-handed – The rationale behind this one is simple. Icing is not allowed. Why, when the team is being penalized for an infraction, are they permitted to break another rule? It’s would make power plays crazy more efficient, and much more hair-raising for the defending team. I generally like the excitement and think it would be an appealing addition to the game. Rink Royalty verdict – Thumbs Up.