Possible NHL Rule Changes
Outlook for the future of the NHL.
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Since the debilitating lockout in 2004, the National Hockey League offices have regularly entertained the idea of possible rule changes. The goal of the changes would be to create a more exciting, fast-paced, and entertaining product and bring in more fans. Of course, the league is faced with the challenge of finding a balance that does not drastically change the game so much that it turns into a video-game-like arcade.
Some of the ideas for rule changes that are being thrown into the kettle are eliminating the shootout, awarding the winning team three points for a win as opposed to the traditional two points, and making the nets bigger. While these particular propositions may not ultimately come into fruition, they exemplify the creative thinking the NHL has needed to embrace in order to increase fan interest.
Eliminating the shootout may be the most plausible rule change of the three. The very fact that eliminating the shootout would not require a change to the way the regular game is played at all makes it a conservative type of rule change that the league may consider. Additionally, the NHL has already shown a willingness to experiment with changing the way overtime works by employing a four-on-four five-minute overtime system during the regular season. It is unclear, however, if eliminating the shootout would be a way to cater to the casual hockey fan, who often embrace the high-tension nature of the end-of-game shootout.
Awarding the winning team of a game three points instead of two would be a significant change to the current system. The league offices would have to determine if the mathematics behind it would make it a reasonable change, but doing so would bring more interest to the ends of game and to overtime, where teams would be much less likely to slow the puck down and play for the tie in order to secure a point. With wins being worth three times as many points as that, fans would enjoy the luxury as every player skates with everything he has in order to secure a win.
Enlarging the nets would be the most drastic change of the three mentioned scenarios. Widening or heightening the net by even a few inches would dramatically change the angles that goalies have been mastering throughout their entire lives. One of the biggest complaints about the NHL, however, is the lack of goal-scoring. With nature of goalie-play going under such a major overhaul, an influx of new goalie equipment from innovative companies like GoalieMonkey would be inevitable. What better way to increase the number of goals than by making it easier to score goals with a bigger net?