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5-Minute Rule: Let’s Fix Hockey

Some of the staff at TDS weighed in with a few improvements and quick fixes for the NHL and the game of hockey in general.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: You remember our 5-Minute Rule, right? Anything we talk about in Slack for at least five minutes goes on the site. We ended up going on about hockey rules and tweaks for well over half an hour after that only-technically-offside Nashville goal was disallowed last night.)

Hockey, personally, has always been my favorite sport and I even played a little club action during my freshman year at the University of Alabama before coming to USF. I attend most home Lightning games, officiate youth games in Oldsmar, and I helped out the Ice Bulls with a couple broadcasts this past winter.

After last night’s replay debacle, we started talking about things we don’t like about the NHL game.

#1: This letter-of-the-law offsides video review thing

You’ve been able to challenge goals for being offside for a couple of years now. That has its pros and cons. The major con, in my opinion, is that apparently you can go back as far as you want and call a goal back for an offside that had nothing to do with the goal being scored.

Collin actually likes the rule. He said, “Anything where they get it right but don't mess up game flow is good. And they only call it back on goals.” But it has been messing up the game flow. The video review in last night’s game took five minutes! They called it no goal on a massive technicality, and the delay totally yanked away any first period momentum the Preds had in a road game they went on to lose 5-3.

Jamie also suggested making it a penalty if you lose a replay challenge, because coaches are always looking for ways to prevent goals and sometimes they go fishing for calls like the one last night.

#2: Hand passes

Or playing the puck with your hand in general. NHL rules say that a player or goalkeeper is not allowed to “bat” the puck in the air, or push it along the ice with his hand, directly to a teammate unless the pass is started completed in their own (defending) zone.

Collin thinks you should either enforce it all over the ice, or let players hand pass anywhere they want. Jamie brought up that “there's value in being able to desperation hand pass out of your own zone” and talked about a game the Lightning won 20 years ago with a last-second hand pass, which was boring.

#3: Blocking shots

Collin and Jamie suggested not letting players drop to the ice to block shots. On the other hand, Carl thought blocking shots is just good tactics. All fair points. Blocking shots has always been part of the game and some defenseman are even taught certain blocking techniques. Some teams are just a bit zealous about it.

#4: Ties

Then we talked about how terrible goalies were in the 80s, and the Devils and Panthers ruining hockey with the neutral-zone trap, and how shootouts are trash, and that wound around to ties.

What’s so wrong with ties? Shootouts are skills competitions and games should not be decided by them. Make it a 10 minute 3-on-3 OT. Nobody scores? End in tie, both get a point.