7 Rule Changes The NHL Needs To Make If They Want To Survive
As I watched overtime of Game 7 between the Florida Panthers & Boston Bruins, I found myself bored. Who the hell wants to sit through that shit? Potentially endless overtime? What a yawn-fest. The rules of hockey need a complete overhaul.
I'm obviously kidding. Game 7 OT playoff hockey is the best theatre in sports. At least for my money it is. However, I turned on 'Get Up! With Mike Greenberg' this morning (for some reason). Seeing Mike Greenberg's face reminded me of when he used to make up dumb new rules for different sports on Mike & Mike. Greenie's bad ideas were a cornerstone of ESPN Radio. I feel like he's the reason the MLB used the All-Star game to determine home field advantage in the World Series. I don't think that's actually true, but in my mind I
credit blame him for it.
Anyways, seeing Greenie's big dumb face inspired me to come up with some dumb rules of my own. I don't actually want the NHL to implement these rules. That would be ridiculous. But if some lower-level hockey league that nobody cares about is looking to shake things up (maybe somewhere in Eastern Europe), I have some suggestions for them.
Consider this blog to be a thought experiment.
2 Extra Attackers For Pulling Goalie
The last 1-2 minutes of a 1 goal game when the losing team pulls their goalie to get an extra attacker is the most exciting part of the game. I did some extensive research (i.e. skimmed the first article I clicked on), and according to very respected website BigThink.com, a team's chance of scoring a goal in any given 10 second interval increases from 0.65%, to 1.97% when the goalie is pulled. That's not high enough. Let's get that closer to 4%.
Watching teams adapt to this new rule would be fascinating. Obviously teams would start by pulling the goalie a little earlier. More goals would be scored at the end of games. But eventually, someone will get crazy and pull their goalie on a power play in the second period. Imagine a 7-on-3 power play? Would that just be an automatic goal? Or would 2 additional skaters not even be that helpful? There's only 1 puck after all. There's only so much ice. Would 7 players just just clog up the power play? I'm not sure how it would affect the game, but I would like to find out.
Play The Whole Game 3-on-3
If you don't like adding extra skaters, then maybe you'd prefer we take some away. The 5-minute, 3-on-3 OT's are wonderful. The players have so much open ice to work with. The action is back and forth, teams create chance after chance. Goals are scored much more frequently. Why not do that for a full 60 minutes?
Ignore the fact that we would be eliminating jobs for half of the league. We'll give those players a severance package or something. Ignore the fact that cutting the game down to 3-on-3 would be spitting in the face of the game of hockey. Ignore the fact that we would be effectively ruining the game, and would fuck up the record books forever.
With those facts ignored, hear me out. One of hockey's problems is that they don't have a ton of front facing stars. Even when you do watch the stars play, they don't always stick out to the untrained eye. Everyone looks relatively the same in uniform, and you can't see anyone's faces. But with only 3 skaters per team, the stars will truly be able to shine. Fans will get to know the players better (because there would not be as many of them). The best players will have more time on the puck, more room to make plays, will score more goals, etc. If you think Connor McDavid's numbers are impressive now, just wait until the NHL is cut down to 3-on-3.
Teams would score 10 goals a game, and any time you can make your sport more like lacrosse, you have to do it. Lacrosse is the sport of the future after all.
No Overtime Clock (Golden Goal, No Shootout)
This rule I actually believe in. Shootouts never make sense. The game isn't played as a series of breakaways, and it shouldn't be decided that way. They've already cut overtime down to 3-on-3. When you play 3-on-3, there's going to be a goal scored soon enough. Just let them play until someone puts one in the back of the net. That's a much more legitimate way to decide a game.
What has offsides ever done for anyone? Who needs it. Let's stretch out that ice. The offensive zone would be changed forever, as the defensemen wouldn't have a blue line to hold. Teams could reset the puck all the way back to center ice without having to clear the zone. The defense would have to back way up in 2-on-2 situations, because the winger off the puck can just go straight to the net without having to wait for the puck to cross the blue line
It would have to increase scoring right? Maybe it wouldn't. I have no idea how it would look, but it would be interesting to watch teams adapt.
Just in case anybody thinks these ideas are good, I propose we get rid of checking entirely. I've played hockey my whole life, and checking is the worst. I don't want to be hit. It hurts to get hit. I want to make stupid moves over the middle of the ice without the fear of being blown up by somebody bigger and stronger than me. Turn the NHL into adult league hockey. Adult league hockey is the best.
Bottom line is, eliminating checking would benefit the skilled players. The skilled players are the most fun players to watch. I want to see a league exclusively catered to them.
No more pucks out of play. I want a full glass dome built over the playing surface. Cut down on play stoppages.
No Glass At All
Or we could do the polar opposite of a glass dome. Get rid of the glass entirely so it's only boards surrounding the ice. I don't want any nets protecting the fans either. Expose the fans to flying pucks. Imagine the adrenaline rush of sitting directly behind the goal. Every time a player winds up to shoot, it could be the last thing you see. The prices of tickets would drop, as nobody would want to sit in the highly dangerous seats. But the brave people who are willing to sit there would get a wild experience for an affordable price. And they'll have an increased chance of going home with a souvenir. OR, maybe every time a puck goes into the stands, the fans have to throw it back in play. Imagine a fan getting an assist from the stands? That's pretty cool.
That's all I got. I can understand why Greenie likes doing these so much. They're very fun. If any terrible, struggling hockey leagues are reading this, feel free to adapt any of these terrible rules. You don't even have to credit me for it. I just want to see them implemented somewhere. We've seen how successful the Savannah Bananas' are. The baseball minor league with all of the weird quirky rules that I don't understand.
It's all very stupid, but the Savannah Bananas are sold out for the next year. People eat that shit up. I guarantee there's an audience for the hockey version of that as well.