Morihei Ueshiba said, “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” The mistakes at the front of most hockey fans’ minds are those of the referees during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (*cough* Eakin Major *cough*), and the NHL rules that allowed them. Luckily, the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee met yesterday in Toronto and decided to not let past failures prevent future success. So they came out of the meeting with new rule recommendations for the NHL! A media release issued yesterday from the committee stated the following rule recommendations:
Expanded Video Review/Coach’s Challenge – The Committee recommends changes to the Coach’s Challenge and expanded video review, including as it relates to a Referee’s ability to review some of his own calls on the ice. Recommendations will be prepared for the League’s Board of Governors, General Managers and the NHLPA’s Executive Board.
Helmets Off During Play – The Committee recommends work on a rule construct for implementation next season that would reasonably require a player to leave the ice in the event his helmet comes off during play.
Goalies Unnecessarily Freezing Puck – The Committee recommends that the defensive team not be permitted a line change when a goalie freezes the puck on any shot from outside the center red line. The offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place.
Face-off Procedure Changes/Line Changes – The Committee recommends: i) that following an icing, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place. ii) To begin a power-play, the offensive team will have the choice of which end-zone dot the face-off will take place. iii) That no line change be permitted for the defending team if, in the judgement of the Official, the actions of a skater of the defensive team caused the stoppage by unintentionally knocking the net off. The offensive team will have the choice of which end-zone dot the face-off will take place.
Puck Out of Bounds – The Committee recommends that when the attacking team is responsible for the puck going out of play in the attacking zone, all face-offs will be conducted at one of the two face-off dots in the attacking zone.
Regular Season Tie-breakers – The Committee recommends adoption of a proposal that would modify existing regular season tie-breaking procedures and adding additional criteria.“
Though the new rules recommendations still need to be approved by the NHLPA’s Executive Board and the NHL’s Board of Governors, fans* can breathe a sigh of relief that perhaps in following Stanley Cup playoffs the games won’t be decided by a refs inability to call a play correctly.
*Of course Sharks fans may be a little sad though that they can no longer “skate by” on gifts from the referees.