So you may have noticed my absence here since the Olympic started – I figured I would take the time off as well and give my self a break as well.
Watching the US and Canada play tonight, and seeing Mr. Bettman present at the games, I figure it would be a good time and adapt the NHL to more of an Olympic style game to make the overall game better. Here are a few of the Olympic/International rules that they NHL should consider keeping in their game or keeping out of their game.
No Touch Icing – not so much to eliminate injuries, because that is pretty much the losing point in any argument on that topic. But it just might make the game flow a lot better. There have only been one or two icings in this game. Even if there were more icings – it might add a few critical seconds to an offensive end faceoff for a team needing a late goal for a tie or a victory.
Crease Violation – This rule might help teams like the Sabres out. If a guy is standing in the blue paint for too long, blow the play dead and move the faceoff outside the zone. Your going to protect your goaltenders a lot more with a rule like this in place.
Shootouts – in the NHL, regardless of the number of rounds the shootout goes, you can’t repeat a shooter unless you have gone down your whole bench. In the Olympics, you can have anyone shoot any number of times after the first three. I say leave this in the Olympics. Your just asking for a team like Pittsburgh or Washington to add a few extra wins by giving guys like Crosby and Ovechkin an extra shot in the shootout.
Hits to the Head – If the guys can play with a two minute penalty for a hit to the head in the Olympics why can’t you institute in the NHL?
Shootout/Overtime Points – three points for a regulation win and a two point win for the overtime/shootout win. Theres so much talk of three point games being so important in the playoff race, well make it a real three point game.
Fighting penalties – In International competition its a match penalty. In the NHL its five. I don’t mind the five minute penalty because fighting is so much a part of the North American style game.
If you can modify the NHL game just a little bit to make the game as competitive as the Olympics why not? Granted in the Olympics every game is important because of the short time frame of the tournament – but if you need to increase your product – stop making things up (hexagons behind the net) and start looking towards a working model that people watch.