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 TSN.com 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.
"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.
For the latest hockey news, make sure to follow Adam on Twitter!