“If you were commissioner for a day, which rule change would you implement?” That’s the question bandied about sports bars, backyard barbecues, and live chats as hockey fans try to figure out a way to improve (or, as some would say, fix) their favorite sport.
Take away icings. Remove offsides. Forget about that darned trapezoid.
The NHL may be loath to make significant changes, but one league will try something new next season. The Champions Hockey League, a season-long tournament that sees the best clubs across all European leagues battle it out, will institute three changes to how penalties are dealt with.
- Scoring does not end a two-minute powerplay
- A goal during a delayed penalty does not negate the upcoming powerplay
- A shorthanded goal will end the powerplay
These aren’t completely brand new ideas. Hockey minds (notably Jeff Marek of Sportsnet) have been pushing for the first two rule changes for a long time. The third will likely be most interesting to hockey fans in North America.
One has to wonder if it will hurt the number of shorthanded chances, though, with teams icing two defensemen on the powerplay instead of the four- or five-forward units we’ve seen over the last decade.
Regardless of how it turns out, this will be an intriguing experiment to run and something the NHL will certainly be watching.