Pass or Fail: GM Rule Changes

As part of their biannual meeting, the NHL's general managers always come up with some ridiculous rule changes, as well as some realistic ones.

Here's what we know so far:

The idea of an NFL-like "coach's challenge" has been officially shelfed by the GMs. Dale Tallon, current Panthers GM, called the instant replay challenge system "a dead issue." More here from the NHL's official website.

NHL analyst Darren Dreger recently tweeted about the NHL's plans to completely revamp the format of the All-Star game. One possible change includes designating two “captains” and having them pick their team, ala 6th grade kickball. Although nothing has been confirmed yet, NHL VP Brendan Shanahan did say to expect an announcement from the league regarding this year’s All-Star game in the coming days. Read the full story on right here.

Of course, it wouldn't be a general managers meeting without talking about headshots. After reviewing some game footage, the GMs are happy with how the infamous Rule 48 is working out thus far. They feel that players are beginning to modify their checks to avoid contact with the head of an opponent, and that this will be a positive step forward for the league.

Former NHL referees Ray Scapinello and Ron Hoggarth aren't so sure. They believe that the entire mindset of players has to change.

From NBC's ProHockey Talk:

"In days gone by, you used to hit a guy just to separate the puck,” said Scapinello, who spent 33 years as a NHL linesman before retiring in 2004. “Now they hit to hurt. … Even the cleanest check in the world, they’ll try and knock your head off. I don’t know if it’s lack of respect—I really can’t put my finger on what it actually is."

According to several sources, the GMs are planning on monitoring the use of Rule 48 and will consider tweaking the rule come March.

Last month, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland proposed a new (and improved?) overtime format: eight minute overtimes with 4-on-4 (4 minutes), then 3-on-3 (4 minutes) and then the shootout.

The league's general managers agreed to keep a careful watch on the number of games going to shootouts and re-visit the issue in March.

Today’s final story has nothing to do with the GMs meeting; in fact, they will likely have no say in the matter.

Gary Bettman and the NHL brass are rumored to be taking offers from ESPN with regards to their TV partnership. The NHL is currently teamed up with Comcast (NBC and Versus) but their contract expires after this season.

Although the issue gets quite complicated, many believe (and for good reason) that broadcasting NHL games on ESPN would significantly improve the NHL’s TV ratings, as well as promoting hockey interest throughout the United States. While ESPN boasts viewership numbers, the fact that they won’t find a dancing partner with the NFL makes a partnership with the NHL all the more appealing. For more on this, check out Anthony Crupi's take right here.

Have an opinion? Make sure your voice is heard! Comment below with your thoughts on any of these possible changes.

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Mark Trible's picture

ESPN is a must

Adam Pardes's picture

Absolutely. Chelsea and I have been talking about that for years--it would increase their exposure exponentially. Fun fact: ESPN and the NHL were partners for 21 consecutive years before the league moved over to Comcast.

George Prax's picture

I can't believe in a day and age where players are going down almost every week to headshots and concussions, they're seriously wasting time on revamping the All Star Game. Hint: no one cares and it changes nothing so long as the actual game doesn't matter.

The challenge was such a good idea, it's one friggin challenge and and they made such a huge fuss over it. But it's the same thing whenever they try to make any change in the NHL, always met with uncertainty from the people who need to approve it.

And here's another issue that I'd rather they talk about over the ASG: Making a hall of fame election comity that works and doesn't screw Pat Burns out of his spot.

FlyerGuy18's picture

If that All-Star revamp goes through I'm calling it now:

North America vs World

Captains: Sidney Crosby (North America), Alexander Ovechkin (World)

George Prax's picture

Makes sense. I'd still rather Cup winning team vs all-stars. Although if they did that this year it would be half a cup winning team lol

Adam Pardes's picture

Thanks for the feedback everyone, always interested in what you have to say. Personally, I think having players pick the All-Star teams would be ridiculous. And like I said in the article, regardless of the NHL's past experiences with ESPN, they absolutely have to get on board. Hockey needs to be recognized as a major sport in the US. ESPN can help the league do exactly that.

Alex Mueller's picture

Here's a novel idea make the overtime gasp 10 minutes! I like challenge rule. Too many would slow the game down but I think a coach should have one challenge to challenge a goal or penalty.

Alex Mueller's picture

ESPN is only a must if they aren't the SOLE NHL coverage on cable. Otherwise it would never work, as ESPN broadcast many NBA playoff games at the same time. The NBA would get the better coverage.

Adam Pardes's picture

Absolutely. I'm sure it would be a similar agreement to the one the NHL has with Comcast right now. Versus gets to broadcast a couple of games a week, but the vast majority of games are only broadcasted in local markets (CSN, NESN, RDS, etc.). I wouldn't be opposed to a full twenty minute overtime. Shootouts are fun and all but does anything compare to playoff overtimes?

George Prax's picture

Changes to All-Star game announced. Yet in the end, it remains completely irrelevant.

Adam Pardes's picture

Also heard that at the end of the draft, captains will draft a group of players to avoid a pick-the-fat-kid-last scenario. /Wellwood'd

Alex Mueller's picture

Well I meant besides the regional coverage. I meant that ESPN is not the sole national cable provided. Like NBA has ESPN and TNT. The NHL should keep Versus and ESPN. Not just go exclusively to ESPN. Nothing compares to playoff overtime. But I understand players not wanting to go another 1 hour plus just to pick up two points.

Adam Pardes's picture

I think that a good compromise for OT would be having one 20-min period. I understand teams not wanting to play double and triple overtime games during the regular season. So if you make it one normal period, then a shootout, you get the thrill of OT without the complete exhaustion. Teams wouldn't just play around in their own zone for five minutes waiting for a shootout because they're afraid of getting scored on. They'd be forced to play standard, competitive hockey.

Adam Pardes's picture

And I can see what your saying with the national coverage. I think that's pretty reasonable, as long as the NHL could come to an agreement with both parties. If it was all or nothing, I'd take the gamble on ESPN.