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NHL general managers commenced meetings on Monday with rule changes as the main focal point.

Frank Curto

NHL general managers kicked of meetings on Monday in Boca Raton, Florida focusing on rule changes they may want to see implemented.

The NHL always is looking for better ways to improve the game. For now, these are just suggested ideas that would need to be submitted to the rules committee. Once approved by the committee the new rules would have to be approved by the Board of Governors vote in June.

Let’s take a look at what was discussed.

Safety is always at the forefront of these meeting and the kickoff of Monday’s meeting was no exception.

Helmets seem to be the top priority, which would make sense with the epidemic of concussions that have been occurring in the NHL for several years. One of the was to help prevent concussions os to make sure the players have their buckets on top of their heads.

  • A proposal was made that is if a skater loses his helmet, he must come off the ice immediately. This is a similar rule to what the AHL already has implemented. A player must have his helmet on when he takes the ice, but if he should have it knocked off in a collision, he can continue to play without until he exits for the bench. This new proposal would now force a player to leave the ice immediately should his helmet be knocked off his head. A minor penalty would be called if the player fails to go to the bench.

This rule seems to have the eye of most GMs and probably would pass both the Rules Committee and a BOG’s vote.

  • Wearing helmets during warmups was another safety issue that was brought up. There are times in warmups when a player is injured during what seems to be a harmless pre-game skate. The general managers are considering making helmets warmups mandatory under the same scenario as in a game. This would also need approval from the National Hockley Leagues Players Association (NHLPA) to be approved.
  • As for game rules, A proposal suggested was that a team can choose what face-off dot can be used when a power play is about to begin. Again this would be for the first face-off after a penalty is called. Power play face-offs are a huge opportunity for possession of the puck. An example of this advantage would be a Washington Capitals power play where they can set up Alex Ovechkin on whatever side of the ice they want to begin the man advantage.

The AHL currently has this rule in their games.

  • The GMs also endorsed the idea of having clocks in the corner boards in all 31 rinks. Which we saw in the Winter Classic and other outdoor games. This seems like an idea everyone will embrace and will require the Board of Governor’s approval which should have no issues approving.

The league seems to be looking at getting away from entering shootouts after the overtime has concluded with no goals being scored. The suggestion discussed the possibility of a one-minute penalty in OT instead of the traditional two minutes. But there was not enough support, so no change will be made regarding the OT period.

If the GMs don’t want games to go to the shootout, then why not just remove it and extend the OT period? That’s for another conversation I guess.

Other topics that are set to be discussed are changing the “ROW’ tiebreaker to “RW,” possibly altering how penalties are awarded in overtime and looking at signing KHL players to future NHL contracts.

These rule changes are for the better of the game and safety of its player

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com