Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 08/18/11 at 03:31 PM ET
At this summer’s NHL Research, Development and Orientation camp, they’re testing out a bunch of things that might change our game. Every summer, dozens of things get tested and few ever make their way into the game. There are a few from this batch that RBH can stand behind, a few we hate, and some that we’d like to see in future RDO camps.
First, I’ll start with the things that aren’t being tested, but should be.
There’s something that I’ve never liked about bench minor penalties and penalties against the goaltender. As the rule is currently written, when one of these occurs, the offending team selects a player from the ice to serve the penalty. I don’t like that. I’d prefer to see the non-offending team get to select the player. It’d be nice to take a team’s best penalty-killing forward or their best defensive defenseman off the ice after they’ve committed one of these penalties.
I’ve always wished that when a penalty shot is called, the non-offending team would be given the option of taking the penalty shot or going on the power play. Sometimes, a player who is awarded a penalty shot is at the end of a long shift, or is a little banged up. Sometimes, you just like your power play better than you like your chances on the penalty shot. These are just a couple of things I’ve thought about over the years.
There are a bunch of things already being tested and more that will be tested over the course of this camp, and many of them involve the net. The clear plastic on the top of the goal allows for better overhead views of disputed goal situations. The same clear plastic on the net skirting at the goal line give a referee a better view. These are fine, I guess.
The “goal verification line”, the green line three inches beyond the blue line, is supposed to make it significantly easier to determine if a puck is completely over the goal line. I don’t see how this is going to be of much help. The issues that they have now will continue to be issues. Just like they have a hard time determining whether there’s any white ice showing between the red goal line and the puck, hey’ll still have a hard time determining whether there’s any white ice showing between the green line and the leading edge of the puck. It only helps on goals that are flat. We all know that many of the disputed goals involve pucks that are on edge. The green line does nothing to help that. We also know that there are often legs and sticks and goalie equipment obstructing the overhead view. The green line doesn nothing for this either. And nor does the clear plastic.
If the overhead goal cameras were mounted inside the crossbar, that would be one thing, but they’re placed high above. There’s a slight distortion, as the overhead views make it look like the crossbar is a couple of inches in front of the goal line. This distortion can come into play, and someone smarter than I am pointed this out a couple of years ago, but I can’t remember where I saw it. Anyway, this person wrote about and used photographs to show that an overhead view is not always the best because of this distortion.
People have often suggested computer chips in the puck and/or laser technology along the goal line to easier verify goals, but the League has said that they can’t do it. To my knowledge, they haven’t tried.
At the end of the day, I like the clear plastic on the top of the net at the crossbar and the same plastic at ice level going back a few inches from the posts. I think the green line (or yellow) is ridiculous. Just another thing to muddle the issue.
I really like the idea of streamlining the goals and making them shallower. Although it’s clearly meant to increase scoring chances, it’ll also reduce things like this:
I like the idea of making a team serve the entire two minutes of a minor penalty, even if the non-offending team scores during the power play.
I like the idea of making an offending team clear the zone before the whistle is blown on a delayed penalty. This could, however, lead to some really bizarre empty-net goals from long range. It’s not likely that it’ll happen, but it could.
I like the idea of eliminating the trapezoid. Let the goalies play the puck if they want to.
The elimination of the turnbuckle at the players benches and the introduction of curved glass seems like a great idea in the interest of safety, and it won’t affect gameplay.
This video shows the streamlined goals, the “verification line”, the clear plastic and the curved glass:
I do not like the idea of disallowing a short-handed team to ice the puck.
I like, and have always liked, the idea of modifying overtime. Four minutes of four-on-four, then three minutes of three-on-three, then if they still need it, a shootout of five shooters per side.
There are loads of other things being tested in this camp, and most of them will never see the light of day in an actual NHL game, but it’s interesting to see what’s tested every summer.
In a very slow summer, this is all I have.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.