With the NHL hierarchy getting together and deciding a rule on head shots and putting it into effect mid season, I was thinking why don’t they try an curb a few of the other problems before they become big issues and happen during an important game in the playoffs. Here are the rule changes that I suggest the NHL fast track:
1. A game cannot end while the winning team has an odd man penalty against them.
Picture this: Game 7 of the Stanley Cup. Atlanta is beating Chicago 4-3 with 8 seconds left in the game when Jonathan Toews grabs the puck at center ice and dekes 2 players. Now he’s one on one against Chris Chelios. Toews slides the puck through Chelios and starts to go around him when Chelios with his older skill set, yet infinite hockey knowledge decides to bear hug Toews who had him easily beat. The puck drifts to the corner, time ticks off the clock, Atlanta wins and Chelios gets called for interference at the 20 minute mark even though the game is over and the Stanley Cup has been won. Sounds far fetched yes, but it is a completely legal play in the NHL and similar things have happened in the past.
The NHL needs to put this into place immediately. The game cannot end on a penalty has worked great for the NFL for many years.
2. Use the “Fox Trax” technology to see if a puck went into the net.
How many of you remember Fox Sports glowing puck? How about using that technology or a variation of it to determine if a goaltender is laying on a puck inside the net or if the puck inside the glove crossed the goal line. Right now if a goaltender is laying on a puck in the goal even if the referee asks him to stay there the goaltender can still slide out on his back with the puck under him and the referee cannot call a penalty on the goaltender for sliding out of the net on his back even though he asked him not to and the ref cannot call a goal because he would have never seen the puck in the net. Using something like Fox Trax with a the latest in HD technology, you can be assured the call will be made correctly and fans are generally happy when a call is correct. This may be too hard to implement before the playoffs and I would bet the NHL could come up with a better technology than the one used in the early 90′s if they wanted to.
3. Video referee can call goaltender interference on goals.
One of the things that I really get tired of in the NHL are the teams that purposely hit a goaltender and interfere with him or plow him into the net for a goal. They have referees that can determine a kicking motion on video, how hard would it be to station a couple of referees in Toronto who determine if a goaltender is interfered with or not when a goal is scored and even call a penalty. People for the most part will not disagree with a referee who has watched the play on video a few times. After teams are called on this a few times, the whole interfering with a goaltender to get a goal will probably go away anyway.
Maybe fund the extra video referees by doing away with the pointless goal judges.
While there are many other rule changes that could be considered like automatic icing of the puck or the must clear the defensive end on a delayed penatly. If the three rule changes above are not made, someday they will jeopardize the outcome of a big game.