Though it was discussed heavily at the GM Meetings this week in Boca Raton, Florida, the NHL will not change the off-side rule according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN. The idea theorized was that the player wouldn’t need to have his skate blade on the ice to be considered on-side, just breaking the plane of the blue line as if it extended upwards from the ice. Similar to the endzone in football, this would allow review officials to more easily determine whether a scoring play was on-side or not.
This season has seen several reviews take close to 10 minutes as officials tried to see whether the very tip of a skate blade was touching the blue line or not. Though the proposed change would obviously make it easier to tell, it was also regarded with some opposition from traditionalists who didn’t want to change the rule just because of some review issues. The league will obviously want to speed up that process, but changing the off-side rule sounds like it’s off the table for now.
Also from the meetings, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that the GMs were told there is no update on NHL participation at the 2018 Olympics. Though many players have expressed that they want to go no matter what, the league is still shuffling its feet on whether to break in the middle of the season again for a tournament that many owners dislike. The possibility of losing a key player to injury is a huge risk for teams that are competing for the Stanley Cup, and the league wants to build their own product—The World Cup of Hockey, held this past fall in Toronto—into the premiere international tournament.
While the GMs discuss how to improve the game and create more offense, many media members including TSN’s Ray Ferraro pondered various different rule changes on Twitter. One idea of expanding to the international-sized rinks was shot down immediately, with Ferraro saying that it does not in fact increase offense, just creates dead areas on the ice. Whether that’s true or not, Dave Stubbs of NHL.com put a period on the conversation when he noted that adding 15 feet of ice to every rink would eliminate many premium seats—no league owner would sign off on that.