Thursday, March 27, 2008

Major Rule Changes Coming ... Goalies Main Target

Al Strachan made an appearance on The Spin last night (a show on The Score) with host Steve Kouleas and outlined some of the many rule changes the NHL is looking to make next year and one rule change that the NHLPA is fighting like hell to get passed.

Rightfully so, the NHL is set to put a target on the ever-ballooning goalies.

Strachan pointed out that there are serious discussions taking place that would see the goalies banned from playing the puck at any point behind the goal line.
Yes, that would mean the trapezoid would be eradicated and the netminders would be forced to intercept pucks they want to play ahead of the goal line. Any infraction would be a 2 minute penalty.

Strachan said that this rule had been discussed before and that the trapezoid was instituted as a compromise because teams that had strong puck playing goalies (Dallas, New Jersey) were selfishly opposed to the change. Now that almost every goalie coming into the league can play the puck as well as everyone else, no team is going to be adversely effected more than another and thus the GM’s are prepared to bite the bullet “for the good of the game”.

There is also an interesting rule change proposed that would see goalies forced to play the puck (instead of freezing it for a faceoff) on shots that come from outside the offensive zone.
That means that goalies will not be able to stop the play when an opposing team shoots the puck in and beats the defending team to the net. If the goalie does not keep the puck in play, a 2 minute Delay of Game penalty would be assessed. Strachan noted that teams will change their strategy if this rule comes into effect by sending wobbly, off-speed bouncing pucks in from the blueline and skating hard by the defence who won’t be able to rely on their goalie stopping the play by collapsing.

The next change Strachan thinks is a done deal is that after a penalty call, the ensuing faceoff will take place in the offending teams zone no matter where on the ice the play was whistled down.
The thinking behind this is that teams who take a penalty sometimes get off easy when the faceoff takes place in the neutral zone. This will allow teams on the power-play to more fully maximize their opportunities. Right now, some believe too much time is spent just trying to get set up in the offensive zone. Undoubtedly this will result in more goals, something the league is pushing for.

The goalie equipment is set to shrink again and Strachan says that the upper body armour will be the main area targeted. He also said that the leg pads will be shrunk “another few inches”. The NHL plans to force the goalies on this one, using the threat of bigger nets to back down the very vocal and powerful goaltender fraternity. Black Aces suggests that those insanely huge catching gloves be reduced to at least 1/3rd their current size. Why do goalies need bigger gloves than baseball catchers? It’s an absolute joke.

And lastly, Strachan suggested that the NHLPA is adamant that the league institute no-touch icing strictly as a safety issue for its members. New NHLPA boss Paul Kelly is said to be pushing extremely hard for this despite stubborn opposition from NHL GM’s.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. The only thing I'd be concerned about is the height of the pads, as I think it needs to be tied to the height of the goaltender, for safety purposes. Those shots come at a wicked speed.