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Three Rule Changes The NHL Should Make

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The Colorado Avalanche have been off for a few days, which means I’ve probably had too much time to think, and what I’ve been thinking about are some rule changes I’d make to the NHL.

I think the league is in a real good place. Scoring is up, the salary cap is finally about to increase again, and it feels like there is more skill than ever on display. That being said, no league is ever perfect, and the NHL certainly isn’t.

The GM’s are going to meet soon to go over potential rule changes moving forward, so here are three rule changes I’d love to see the NHL implement.

Offensive Zone Powerplay Face-Offs To Start A Period

Contrary to popular belief, I have not learned any Russian after watching so much of Kovalenko and Gulyayev this year. However, I have noticed that the KHL does things quite a bit differently than the NHL.

For one, they review EVERYTHING. If there’s a penalty call they aren’t sure about, they review it, and they aren’t afraid to take penalties off the board. I don’t know if the NHL needs more reviews, but some people just want them to get everything right.

One thing I do like that they do has to do with powerplays. If a team has a powerplay to start a period, the first face-off of the period is in the offensive zone for the team that has the man advatnage. Whether they have two minutes left or two seconds left of a powerplay, it starts with an offensive zone face-off. This also works for overtime. I watched an overtime game end in five seconds earlier this year because the team won the opening face-off in the offensive zone and immediately scored on the man advantage.

Scoring is up in this year, but this is another way to promote scoring and offense in the league.

Half-Court Rule In Overtime

I believe I’ve made it clear before that I despise what 3-on-3 overtime has become. I get why it’s become what it has. Coaches didn’t like the chaos of overtime and found a way to control things a little bit. By doing that, it’s become horrible to watch. You still get the occasional entertaining overtime period that contains back-and-forth hockey, but it’s a lot more rare these days. Most of the time you just get a team holding onto the puck and circling back into the neutral zone to regroup…again and again and again.

Some people want the NHL to just move to a continuous 3-on-3 with the extra period. I don’t think that’s the answer. The regular season is already long enough, and these guys don’t need to be playing more hockey. Plus, it feels like shootouts are pretty rare anyway. Just bring some of the excitement of the original 3-on-3 overtime back and create a rule that says that once you’ve entered the offensive zone with possession, you can’t carry it back out over the red line to regroup. Force the teams to try and attack.

Heading, High-Sticking…Who Cares? It’s A Goal

This one is tricky because there’s a lot of danger in allowing players to just freely kick pucks around the crease, but I would love to see the league allow goals on high deflections, kicks, and even headers.

Remember the disallowed goal from Andrew Shaw about a decade ago in the playoffs? The puck bounced into the air in front of the net, but because he was tied up, he couldn’t do much about it. Instead, he chose to head the puck into the net. I thought it was brilliant, but the NHL immediately waved off the goal, as you aren’t allowed to do that. Why not? It was quick thinking from Shaw and he should have been rewarded for it. It’s not like that’s a play you’re going to see happen every night.

As for high-sticks, I say they should be allowed for deflections. If you can deflect a puck flying at over 90 MPH, and tip it down into the net, it should count, regardless of how high the puck is. I don’t like the idea of players swinging their sticks around at pucks in the air, because that’s just too dangerous, but for deflections, I like it.

I’m clearly just a fan of seeing more goals, and want the NHL to make it even easier for them to happen.

What are some rule changes you’d like to see with the NHL? It doesn’t just have to be on the ice, either. Changes to the point system? Salary cap? What do you want to see change?

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