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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tweaks of the Twade

The fellas over at TSN have been following the NHL research and development camp, aka the "Shanahan Summit", and layed out some of the new rules and tweaks that were being tested there.  I figured since I've got this shiny new blog, I'd go ahead and throw my 2 cents in on some of them:

3 Face-off Dots: The thinking here is to place every face-off in the center of the ice of each zone, possibly creating offense because it gets the goalie off of his angles.  Personally, I think it just looks ridiculous.  It may have the desired effect, or it may not, but either way, you are going to look bad doing it.

Face-off Variation:  While I'm normally for anything that removes the refs from having control of the play, I just can't get behind this one.  The face-off would occur with the puck already laid on the ice, and the scrum for for the puck would occur upon the whistle being blown.  It seems to me that this would eliminate the struggles that are the earmarks of a good face-off, and would allow centers to cheat even more in the circle.  Even after seeing the refs screw up the simple act of dropping the puck to the ice time after time, I still think its the way to go.

Hybrid Icing:  Again, giving the refs more discretion to decide the game is always BAD, but I have a feeling that this one is inevitable.  Hybrid icing involves the refs being able to blow the play dead on an icing if the defender beats the forechecker to the face-off dots, potentially eliminating the possibility of serious injury.  Unfortunately, it also eliminates a chance for a struggle for the puck, which is one of the basics of the game, and what fans want to see.  I would much rather this be left alone, and more consistent punishment given out by the league as a way of reducing overbearing forwards from dumping a defender head-first into the boards.

Second Ref Off The Ice:  This reminds me of the joke "What do you call a lawyer at the bottom of the ocean?"......"A good start."  Ba Da Bop, Hah hah, Lol, etc...but I digress.  This one has a ref in a tennis-style high chair peering over the ice on the other side of the glass.  This assumes that the refs are just screw ups, and a better vantage point would help them do that less.  My tinfoil hat and I disagree whole heartedly.  The refs know exactly what they are doing, and are often instructed to do what they do by the league.  The "instant powerplay after a goal" trend that emerged during the playoffs is an infuriating example of that.

No Line Change After An Icing:  Straight from the bowels of Bizzaro World comes the most bass-ackward rule change to date.  In this scenario, the attacking team would be punished for an offside by not being allowed a line change, in some moronic attempt at creating offense.  Tell me how punishing a team that is trying to create offense, generates more offense?  If you ever wanted to see an entire game played between the bluelines, this rule is for you.

Modified Overtime:  3 minutes of 4v4, 3 minutes of 3v3, and 3 minutes of 2v2 in overtime.  Minus the 2v2, I think this is a great idea.  Anything that helps to eliminate the shootout is brilliant.  Boiling down  a team sport filled with conflict and competitiveness to what amounts to a skills competition to decide the victor is asinine, and exactly what I would expect from the NHL.  Hopefully this takes hold and eliminates, or at least alleviates, that mistake.

The Yellow Line:  And last, but definitely not least, in a flash of common sense that can only be labeled as miraculous considering its source, is the idea of the yellow line.  The NHL would place a yellow line a tad more than 3 inches behind the goal line (more than the width of a puck laying flat), and if a puck is touching this line, it can be clearly determined that it is a goal.  Besides adding a camera to the net that actually gives a better angle to the puck than the network covering the game (imagine that), this is one of the best ideas I've seen to eliminate the "is it, or isn't it" situations that pop up far too often for a professional league.

Anywho, there are several other tweaks being tested at the summit, but they are either so minor or so mind numbingly foolish that they don't warrant a mention.  In my humble opinion, the NHL should look to consistently enforce the rules that they already have throughout the year, including the playoffs, before adding new ones that they can ignore on a whim.

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