Proposing Changes to the NHL Game

Change the game and make it better

In light of the recap on the Research and Development camp I want to share with you a few changes that I feel would better the game while not taking away from it. Be warned though, these are definitely thinkers so you might not agree.

Win/Loss/Shoot Out Point Structure

Since the addition of the shoot out, we’ve seen teams make the playoffs that have less wins than teams not making the playoffs. The extra point that is awarded when a game goes into overtime and a shoot out has rewarded teams for playing for the tie, instead of going for the win.

It’s been talked about before about changing the point structure so a win in regulation is worth 3 points. A win in OT or shoot out is worth 2 with the losing team getting 1. This is a method that I think could work, but I’ve got a different option that will really push teams to win in regulation.

A regulation win is worth 2 points – the same as it is today. A win in OT is worth 2 points for the winning team and still 1 point for the losing team – just like today. Where it gets interesting is making a shoot out win worth 1 point for the winning team and 0 points for the losing team.

The fact that a team losing in OT would get the same amount of points they would receive for winning in the shoot out, should stop teams from playing for the shoot out during OT. It’ll increase the focus on offense because teams will be looking to get the two points. And knowing that they can only do that in OT and not the shoot out will change their mindset drastically.

The other factor is that by reducing the shoot out wins to only 1 point for the winner and none to the loser, it should offset the extra point that is awarded when games are won in the overtime period making more teams in the playoffs deserving of being there.

Removal and Modification to Trapezoid Rule

Instead of limiting the area a goalie may play the puck in I suggest that they be allowed to once again play a puck in any area, however a 3-second rule be applied to it. Instead of having the trapezoid be the small area behind the net, there should be a straight line should placed from the top of the crease parallel with the goal line. When the goalie goes to play a puck outside their crease, but in this area they have 3-seconds to move the puck.

This would ensure that goaltenders are not sitting back with the puck simply waiting for their defenceman to get back into the play, but still give them free range to make a break out pass. The time limit will also likely cause some situations where the goalie makes a rushed or bad pass causing an offensive opportunity against them.

Changing the Size of the Playing Surface

The players have grown faster, bigger and the equipment has also gotten bigger, creating much less room on the ice in the game today than back in the 80’s. Changes have already been made to limit goalie equipment size, but the fact is that did little to increase scoring in the game.

Instead of proposing an increase in the rink size that is the same for all 30 teams, I am proposing that the NHL set out a maximum and minimum size, then leave it up to each team to decide how big their rink will be.

Teams like Phoenix that play a more defensive style would likely keep the rink as small as possible, while a young team like Edmonton that has speed and offensive talent might go for the biggest rink. This would provide a true home ice advantage, similar to how not all baseball parks are the same dimensions.

One of the unique things about baseball are some of the ballparks that seem to have their own personalities. By implementing this change it would give hockey rinks the same thing. It would cause teams to have to play different styles, which will open the game up and create more scoring chances.

The decision for their rink size would have to be determined at the start of the season, but could be changed each year if a team wanted. Again all to help in providing a change of pace to the home games and bringing a new level of excitement to the fans.

Like I said, some you might not agree with. Some of these ideas are definitely unique. What do you think of my proposal? Should they be considered or do you have a better idea? Tell us below.

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.