Don't get me wrong, I think the NHL Playoffs have far surpassed my expectations so far for excitement, there has been some great hockey played ...... wait for it, here it comes, the predictable BUT, but some of the rules and/or guidelines I've witnessed this year need to be tweaked a little, maybe a lot in some cases and maybe some of the proposed rule changes that will be debated this summer will be enough to remedy these problems I have.
1. "The Distinct Kicking Motion" - Quite often when I watch a reviewed goal for this reason I am left shaking my head. I think to myself, "could these guys find a distinct kicking motion in a Manchester United game?"
I know it can't be easy making these calls in the War Room, so why can't we just simplify this rule a little bit?
To me, if a player sees the puck coming and makes any type of effort to redirect it, distinctly or indistinctly kick it, anything at all- it is a no goal.
If the reviewers judgment tells them that a puck was directed into the net by pure accident, then it is a good goal.
In short, Accidental- goal, On Purpose- no goal.
Its pretty easy I think and it leaves less grey area to debate about.
2. Icing - During the Montreal/Ottawa game the other night, I watched one of the fastest skaters in the world in Erik Karlsson move like he has muscle cramps on top of charley horses in his legs to retrieve a puck and it is still called for icing. It was a big call given the circumstance at that time of the game, and then it happens again a minute or so later for Sergei Gonchar, again a key call at a pivotal point in a playoff game.
The linesman have to have better discretion on whether a player is really trying to get the puck or not.
I know the icing rule is at the top of the list this year for rule changes, whether it be no touch icing or a hybrid style. This is being discussed for injury purposes- as it should be, but it could also solve some of the above problems.
No Touch would be my preference, it is automatic as we see in international hockey, and it would eliminate this deception of the linesman by the players.
3. "Drop the Puck" - I really don't know what the solution for this is, whether the players need to be shown more of what is expected in the face off circle, or if the League needs to instruct the linesman to lighten up a bit.
But if they really want to speed up the game, then the linesman need to drop the puck quicker and stop throwing the guys out so much.
I know they have guidelines, but when the centers are trying to get the drop on each other to win the draw and the linesman just stand there and delay in dropping the puck, of course guys are going to jump the gun and turn in and move their stick and feet. If you just drop it a little faster then there would be less fouls on the face-offs.
When it used to be the players trying to fake each other out to win the draw, it has now become the linesman trying to fake out both players so he can throw them out.
4. Coach's Challenge - Although there are none yet, it is another point of discussion for the League. I think it is a good idea.
I'm not sure how it would work, but I'm guessing it is along the lines of each coach getting 1 challenge a game. If they are right, calls are overturned. If they are wrong, the team gets a delay of game penalty.
The challenge works for the NFL and I think it would be beneficial in pro hockey. It won't end all of the controversy, but it would sure cut a lot of it down.
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