Over the past few years, the NHL has instituted a few rules that don’t seem to make much sense, but for the most part I can see where the league is coming from and the theory behind implementing the rule.
The goalie trapezoid, for example. Dumb rule, but I understand the intent behind it, although it didn’t really work and now it is time for that rule and the extra lines on the ice to go the way of the dodo bird.
The automatic delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass. Ditto. Understanding that at one time there might have been a problem of players intentionally shooting the puck over the glass when they are in trouble, but making it automatic has swung the rule too far.
Which brings me to a new rule quietly implemented this season, the penalty for gloving the puck on a faceoff. Not to be confused with the other “new” automatic penalty where as soon as you cover the puck with your hand it is a minor penalty. That one is almost as unreasonable, but I understand the intent of the desire to keep the puck moving.
The faceoff rule seems just arbitrarily thrown in this season. Look at the facts:
1) If in an offensive or neutral zone faceoff, gloving the puck to a teammate would be blown dead anyway with a glove pass call;
2) Players are allowed to make glove hand passes when it is in their own end at any other time of the game (just don’t put your hand over the puck while you are doing it);
3) When a faceoff is tied up and a player reaches in to make a pass with his hand to win the faceoff, it is keeping the play alive.
It makes absolutely no sense to me to turn a perfectly legal play at any other time of the game (a defensive zone glove pass) and make it a penalty just because it happens to occur a second after the puck has dropped on a faceoff. Also, in any other zone, turning a play that is against the rules and would cause a just a stoppage in play, into a penalty just because it is on the faceoff seems like overkill to me.
This rule seems to work directly against the apparent goals of the league to create a game with more flow and fewer stoppages. There are already enough rules that are called inconsistently enough around the league. Adding one more doesn’t seem to make sense.
And what happens in a playoff game, when a team is already shorthanded and they get two men down because the centre hits the puck with his glove because it is low on his stick and the puck bounces up while he is trying to win the draw? The ref sees the glove hit the puck and boom – 5 on 3. Same consequence as taking a two handed slash to a player or smashing his head into the boards.
Maybe its time to get back to the old days when players could line up sideways if they wanted during faceoffs and put their stick where they want to best win a draw, just drop the puck and go.
What is next, the IIHF rule that you can’t win a faceoff with your feet, either?
NHL, time to give your heads a shake and get away from the nitpicking lockout mentality and start doing things that are important, like better protecting your players’ brains from becoming mush.