With a series of new ideas for rules and an altered ice surface, the NHL's research and development camp is all about test-driving some novel ways to change the game.
The stands are full of veteran coaches, general managers and executives watching closely as some new rules are tested during four on-ice sessions at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility on Wednesday and Thursday.
The 33 top-rated junior players are on the ice, lead by veteran coaches Ken Hitchcock and Dave King, trying out a series of new rules that have been submitted by people closely involved in the league. Some ideas are small tweaks to existing rules, and some are radical changes.
These are the many rule changes that are being examined during the camp. Here are several of the key ones:
- Having three faceoff dots, one in each zone, down the centre of the rink.
- Using a variation of the faceoff, where a whistle starts play rather than the traditional puck drop.
- If a player is deemed to have committed a face-off violation, he will be required to move back and keep his skates behind a "penalty line" (1' foot further back) to take the faceoff
- Trying both no-touch icing and a hybrid icing rule, where referees can blow the play dead prior to the defending player touching the puck.
- Having the second referee located off the playing surface.
- Not allowing a team to change lines after it commits an offside.
- In overtime, having three minutes of 4 on 4, followed by three minutes of 3 on 3 and finally three minutes of 2 on 2
- Having five players from each team participate in the shoot Out and they shall proceed in such order as the coach selects. If it's tied at the end of the shootout, it goes to sudden death shooting and no one shall shoot twice until all eligible shooters have shot
- Narrowing the shallowness of the net by four inches to create more ice behind the net and enable more wrap-around attempts
- Increasing the size of the crease proportionally in all directions by 3 inches
Which of these rule changes do you think would most benefit the game? Are there any that you feel would greatly hurt the game? Have your say. It's Your Call.