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NHL 2019-20 Rule Changes: Short-Sighted and Reactive

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One of the things I always loved about hockey is the flow of play. Is there anything better than a lengthy stretch with back-and-forth action and no whistles? When there was a stoppage, get those line changes out, drop the puck and let's go again. Emotion builds, the crowd roars or groans after a goal is scored. Quick celebration by the team that scores. Skate to center ice, drop the puck.

In the NHL's replay age, we've lost a lot of that. As replay expanded and expanded some more, and then coaches challenges were introduced, these have been the effects: 1) game delays have gotten more frequent and lengthier, 2) officials have increasing adopted a "we'll fix it in replay if we have to" mentality as they come up through the ranks, rather than sharpening their split-second judgment, 3) many times, the right ruling is STILL not made in the end whether in Toronto or off the on-ice iPad like devices, and 4) the already convoluted and poorly written NHL Rule Book expands with even more convoluted content.

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Now, let's get into the new rules themselves.

1. With the exception of fighting, video review will be used on every major penalty. Officials can reduce the call to two minutes if they see fit, but can't rescind the penalty altogether. This will apply to everything from boarding to elbowing, charging, etc. Additionally, on four-minute high-sticking calls, the officials can themselves opt to review the play by video to see if a two-minute minor would be more appropriate (presumably to get rid of the "automatic four" for any amount of blood that has become the standard). In all cases, no penalty can be increased from the original call.

Yikes, what a mess!!!! Does anyone see ANY potential problems with this? Did anyone who has ever officiated at any level have a voice in the creation of these new instructions?

It doesn't take a lot of foresight to predict that we're going to cause added delays (some of which will be interminable, such as watching over and over whether a player guilty of boarding saw the numbers or the guy he boarded turned at the last moment). It will create more confusion. What it will NOT do is get rid of controversial rulings, and it will NOT help get significantly more calls correct. And on the obvious majors that don't need a replay to determine the on-ice call, why waste the time in the first place?

What about the flip side? Let's suppose that a player is cut by an accidental high stick by a teammate but an opposing player gets penalized. Are we really going to have a replay delay to not correct a wrong call but simply to reduce the penalty so it is a little "less wrong"? Will you still disrespect me in the morning? Of course!

What this rule really is: An attempt to appease Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley over the penalty call on Cody Eakin in the playoffs this past spring. Guess what, though: the root cause of the problem was the discrepancy between how the rule is written by the letter of the law and a common sense application of it.

Don't like it? Then change the wording of the damn rule. Don't add more replay delays to "fix" it.

https://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=101598

More rule changes listed in the story. 

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I absolutely loathe the amount of "controversy" that 5 min major in the VGK/SJ series brought up. None of it would have been an issue if Vegas played anything resembling good hockey and not allowed 4 goals on a single major. Not only was that embarrassing, but the the stink that vegas fans (and some hockey fans) brought up about that and how the refs lost them the series was just as bad.

It's not like Vegas couldn't have played defense. Or god forbid not allow a short handed breakaway overtime goal in the previous elimination game. This elastic rebound of rule changes to cater to these new hockey fans is just awful.

Oh and you know what my actual favourite rule change is now?

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HELMETS: Subject to further consultation with the NHL Players' Association on precise language, a Player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play must (a) exit the playing surface, or (b) retrieve and replace his helmet properly on his head (with or without his chin strap fastened). A Player who is making a play on the puck or who is in position to make an immediate play on the puck at the time his helmet comes off, shall be given a reasonable opportunity to complete the play before either exiting the ice or retrieving and replacing his helmet. Failure to comply with the above will result in a minor penalty being assessed on the offending player. A Player who intentionally removes an opponent's helmet during play shall be assessed a minor penalty for roughing.

This had already reared it's head on this play.

https://streamable.com/sp0qh

McDavid loses his helmet and has to stop playing hockey to pick it up and it leads to a Canucks goal. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing Edmonton getting scored on, but I can't stand this rule at all.

Really head scratching too since a major highlight of the most recent playoffs of Krug going for a massive hit with no helmet. Hell, it's even a highlight on the NHL's own Youtube page.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3gWv1nmr7w

Just fucking nonsense man.

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8 hours ago, coopaloop1234 said:

I absolutely loathe the amount of "controversy" that 5 min major in the VGK/SJ series brought up. None of it would have been an issue if Vegas played anything resembling good hockey and not allowed 4 goals on a single major. Not only was that embarrassing, but the the stink that vegas fans (and some hockey fans) brought up about that and how the refs lost them the series was just as bad.

Slightly off topic but you know what pissed me off the most about this? Marschessault in an interview was 100% blaming the loss on the refs too. Way to take responsibility.

Look at how many players are saying how they could've done better after a loss and this guy blames it on the refs even though they let in 4 goals on a 5 minute powerplay... what a joke.

Edited by southpawtendy48

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I feel like the actual solution to the reviews is something similar to the Soccer VAR system (not that it's perfect).  Have a ref reviewing all the footage of the targeted scenarios (zone entries before goals, goalie contact, pucks into netting, high sticking by your own teammate etc.) automatically while play is still going.  If there's a missed call that leads to a goal, the message is relayed to the Refs and can be corrected.  Then rather than waiting on a coach to decide to challenge, then waiting to review, you just get the ref either dropping the puck or calling it back.

I agree with the general sentiment, a challenge is not the solution to obvious missed calls, it can be applied in too many situations.

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27 minutes ago, Mroy31 said:

I feel like the actual solution to the reviews is something similar to the Soccer VAR system (not that it's perfect).  Have a ref reviewing all the footage of the targeted scenarios (zone entries before goals, goalie contact, pucks into netting, high sticking by your own teammate etc.) automatically while play is still going.  If there's a missed call that leads to a goal, the message is relayed to the Refs and can be corrected.  Then rather than waiting on a coach to decide to challenge, then waiting to review, you just get the ref either dropping the puck or calling it back.

I agree with the general sentiment, a challenge is not the solution to obvious missed calls, it can be applied in too many situations.

Considering the amount of cameras that are in an arena, it's crazy that this hasn't been implemented before.

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37 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Considering the amount of cameras that are in an arena, it's crazy that this hasn't been implemented before.

I think I remember talk the last couple of years that may actually be why it's not a viable solution yet, is the cost to actually bring all the arenas up to the same level in terms of available angles and quality of video.  

That seems ridiculous, but I mean the NHL is pretty good at claiming they don't make enough money (rightly or wrongly) even though the league is supposedly growing.

I feel like the refs would be totally on board though, since it would create an additional position on their officiating teams and a position that good refs can transition into when they maybe aren't as fleet of foot as they were when they were younger.  But then that's an extra position somebody has to pay for, and they already have to staff extra games with that 32nd franchise coming into the league so...

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11 minutes ago, Mroy31 said:

I think I remember talk the last couple of years that may actually be why it's not a viable solution yet, is the cost to actually bring all the arenas up to the same level in terms of available angles and quality of video.  

That seems ridiculous, but I mean the NHL is pretty good at claiming they don't make enough money (rightly or wrongly) even though the league is supposedly growing.

I feel like the refs would be totally on board though, since it would create an additional position on their officiating teams and a position that good refs can transition into when they maybe aren't as fleet of foot as they were when they were younger.  But then that's an extra position somebody has to pay for, and they already have to staff extra games with that 32nd franchise coming into the league so...

Yea they're full of it.

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/the-buzzer/the-buzzer-dec-6-nhl-profit-1.4935474

Average net profit per team was $25 million. Not exactly treading water.

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One of the new rule changes they were talking about on the broadcast was that the offensive team can now pick which side of the ice they want the faceoff to be on after an icing. Pretty minor change, but could have a lot of interesting coaching decisions come out of it.

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I've retired from the NHL.

I'm not watching this year. I'll see how long I can do it.

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4 hours ago, MTH said:

I've retired from the NHL.

I'm not watching this year. I'll see how long I can do it.

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