Apr 12, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Jay McClement (11) wins the faceoff against Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza (19) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Three Changes To Faceoff Rules That Would Greatly Improve The Game Of Hockey

 

Without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of the game is the faceoff that occurs in one end zone or the other.  Also, one of the goals of the NHL is to provide an exciting product, and more often than not that means offense, scoring chances and goals.  The NHL would also like to keep the flow of the game going as much as possible, with the fewer whistles the better.

There are a few rule changes I would like to see with respect to offensive (or defensive, depending on your point of view) zone faceoffs. One is not necessarily directly involving how the faceoff is done, but how the game would get to that faceoff.

 

Here are the changes I would like to see, as well as the pros and cons for each:

1)  On any end-zone faceoff, the offensive centre chooses what side of the ice the draw would take place. 

 

PROS

  • It would create more offensive zone pressure with the offensive centre presumably winning more draws on his strong side than his weak side leading to more offensive zone puck possession time and more goals.
  • The change would penalize icing, freezing the puck by the goalie, and penalties just a little bit more, making them occur less often (especially the goalie freezing the puck), which would create more flow and fewer stoppages.

CONS

  • It might take an extra 5 seconds or so for the draw to happen, but not enough to outweigh the overall benefits of the rule change.

 

2)  Remove the automatic penalty for “Puck over Glass”, making it referee’s discretion as to whether it was done by accident or whether it was an effort to intentionally delay the game.  The offending team may not change players during the stoppage.

PROS

  • This is the only penalty currently that is cut and dried, with no grey area and the penalty outweighs the crime.
  • Rule Change #1 above instills a more appropriate punishment for the action, and brings it more in line with an icing, which is a similar infraction of the rules
  • Referees can focus more on punishing more severe infractions with penalties while appropriately deterring flagrant shooting of the puck out of the playing surface.

CONS

  • I can’t think of any

 

3)  After an icing (or puck over glass if #2 above was instituted) when teams are not allowed to change players, if a defending player gets thrown out of the faceoff circle, the offensive team gets to pick the player that comes in to replace him for the faceoff.

PROS

  • Would greatly reduce the delay caused by the rash of players simply getting tossed to earn a few extra seconds of rest following an icing.  It is circumventing the rule and something needs to be done about it, and the delay it causes.
  • The offensive team would most likely summon in a defenseman to take the draw, greatly improving their chances of winning the draw and getting offensive zone puck possession, leading to scoring chances and goals.

CONS

  • Do teams really want defensemen stepping in to take draws? Probably not, but the alternative is to not get thrown out of the faceoff.

 

I think these three changes to the rules would give more appropriate punishment for breaking certain rules, create more flow to the game, and definitely add more scoring chances.

What do you think of these changes?  Like them?  Hate them?  Let me know below!

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Tags: Faceoffs NHL Puck Over Glass Rule Changes

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