clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NHL Rule Changes

The NHL has made some modest tweaks to its rulebook for the coming season. Here's a breakdown of these changes.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

All rule changes are listed in numerical order as per the rulebook.

Rule 1.8: Rink - Goalkeeper's Restricted Area

No, they're not removing the trapezoid, but they're making it bigger. Now it extends two feet further from the goal posts on either side of the net.

Rule 1.9: Rink - Face-off Spots and Circles – Ice Markings/Hash Marks

Previously, the faceoff hash marks were three feet apart. Now they've been spaced out to 5'7" apart. They're likely trying to limit pre-puck-drop scrums by forcing players apart.

The NHL and NHLPA will institute this rule for the 2014 Preseason, and decide at its conclusion whether or not to carry it over to the regular season.

Rule 23: Game Misconduct Penalties

The NHL looks to be trying to crack down on violence. Clipping, charging, elbowing, interference, kneeing, head-butting, and butt-ending, all dangerous acts, are upgraded to the same status as boarding and checking from behind. A player that incurs two game misconducts for these offences automatically receives a one-game suspension.

Rule 24: Penalty Shots

The Spin-o-rama is illegal in penalty shots and the tie-breaking shootout. Fans won't like this one, but it does make sense.

Attempts in these situations are aborted if the puck ceases forward motion, and the Spin-o-rama, for all the entertainment value, makes for too large a grey area in this respect, something the NHL has made steps to remove via its rule changes of late.

Rule 38: Video Goal Judge

Hockey Operations has more discretion in reviewing and correcting potentially erroneous "goal" or "no-goal" calls, as well as "provide guidance" to referees in situations where the referee's blown/intended to blow the whistle after losing sight of the puck. Additionally, when reviewing "kicked-in goals", Hockey Operations will require more evidence of a "distinct kicking motion" when overruling a "goal"/upholding a "no goal".

Rule 57: Tripping

This is a rule clarification saying that if a defending player dives and attempts to use his body to trip an opposing player, it's a two-minute minor regardless of whether the defending player touches the puck. If such a situation occurs during a breakaway, it's only a penalty shot if the defending player doesn't touch the puck before committing the infraction, otherwise it's a two-minute minor.

This rule will get backlash from the pro-defence crowd, as the tactic is seen as a key defensive play, rather than infraction-worthy.We'll wait and see how this changes.

Rule 64: Diving/Embellishment

Fans will both like and dislike this one. On the one hand, the NHL is taking steps to punish divers, but it's debatable exactly how much of a deterrent the new fines will be. The first incident carries a warning to the player, and the second carries a $2K fine, the third a $3K fine. At incident #4, the player is fined $4 and the coach $2K. At incident #5, the player is fined $5K and the coach $3K. After that, the player's fine is capped at $5K. Incidents #6 and #7 bump the coach's fine to $4K and $5K, respectively. The coach's fine caps at $5K.

Rule 76: Faceoffs

The NHL is trying to put a stop to stall tactics in the circle. If, after an icing, the player lined up for the faceoff for the defending team commits a faceoff violation, he will receive a warning and be forced to stay in the circle. If he does so a second time, he gets a two-minute bench minor.

Rule 84: Overtime

When the teams go out for sudden-death overtime, the two teams will switch sides of the rink à la the second period. The second period experiences a slight uptick in goals for both sides, as players must skate some extra distance to their opponents' side of the neutral zone for line changes, the extra time disrupting defensive systems. The NHL hopes that this will reduce the number of tie-games that go to shootout. In addition, a dry scrape is performed prior to the start of overtime. Finally, the head coach is now permitted to decide his shootout lineup on the fly, rather than providing an order ahead of game time.

Rule 85: Puck Out of Bounds

The NHL seems to recognize that some situations that result in stoppages aren't stall tactics, but actual offensive plays that don't go the right way, and are trying to avoid penalizing offensive risk-taking. Shots on goal that break the glass, deflect off the goal out of play, deflect off the boards or glass out of play, are deflected out of play by a teammate, or that become wedged in the goal net, will no longer result in a defensive zone faceoff for the attacking team.

They are noticeable rule changes, though the NHL didn't do anything particularly bold with them. The trapezoid is still there, there's no 3-on-3 overtime added in, and I've heard nothing about adding suspensions for the most persistent of divers, and the net isn't bigger, something that would help with the NHL's ongoing quest for an extra goal-per-game per season. I think the tripping rule change will be the most interesting to see play out, as many fans, players, and coaches, view diving to swipe at the puck as an integral defensive play, and that the game will suffer for penalizing it. Overall, nothing too earth-shattering, and I expect most people will forget about them once the season starts.