By Glenn McCready
Sunday, October 6th, 2002
For the first time in three years, we begin a new NHL season with some new
rules in place, some good, some not so good. Let's have a look, shall we?
You can make your own judgements. I'll concentrate on the four I feel are
the most important.
Now I know what you're thinking, "Didn't they try this one already?". Yes,
they did, and abandoned it right away. If this is enforced, I mean really
enforced, it's going to open up the game to what it should be, fast and exciting.
What a pleasure it'll be to watch guys like Pavel Bure and Peter
Forsberg and Alexander Mogilny do what they do, instead of the
wrestling matches (see: trap) that occur most nights. With all the talk from
the league about bringing in more fans, an exciting product is a good start.
2) Abuse of Officials
Slamming the stick against the boards, slamming the penalty box door, and
a teammate or coach arguing a call will all result in a minor penalty. Again,
in theory, a great idea. Watch a game, and sure, as a soccer player will
go down like he's shot from the slightest bump, every hockey player cries
injustice over every penalty call. This will also make the game a bit more
pleasant to the casual fan. And maybe we can stop hearing announcers use
that ridiculous "he's really getting his money's worth" nonsense when someone
gets called and starts to jaw at the officials.
3) Line Changes
The visiting team now has five seconds to get their line out for the faceoff
after a stoppage. The home team then has eight seconds after that to do the
same. And if the center isn't ready, too bad, they're dropping the puck.
Good. Now we can stop all this idiotic jousting at the circle. You're not
ready? Tough luck, pal, move it along.
If a long pass goes through the crease, icing will no longer be waved off.
Not really sure of the point here, if they really wanted to make a significant
icing change, maybe make a no touch-up rule. one other change this year is
the nets above the boards. This is also probably a good idea, after the tragic
death of the young girl in Columbus last season. People have complained a
bit about being able to see, but it's a net, for goodness sake, not a wooden
barrier. There's nothing wrong with making sure nothing like that ever happens
So there they are, like 'em or not. New rules, new focus on them. Will it
work? I, for one, hope so. To any and all detractors, especially those
questioning the "obstruction" rules, notice there is no rule against checking,
just grabbing. Checking is a great part of the game, when done right. So
with the puck set to drop and yet another season ready to go, good luck to
all, and let's sit back and watch some real hockey!