Opinion: Send the NHL back to school, end puck over the glass penalties

Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

The Men’s College Hockey game is not perfect, and there are some things it can learn from the NHL. With that said, this rule being in the NHL, where in college hockey it is treated like an icing is a clear example of a rule that needs to change.

Why?

Well, what is the point of this penalty at the NHL level, to punish players for shooting the puck out of their own end and over the glass.

What does icing itself do to the defending team?

Punish the defending team for clearing the puck out of their own end. They cannot change skaters, and are often tired on the ensuing faceoff.

What does the delay of game penalty do?

Give the other team a two minute power play where, ironically enough, four fresh players come on to the ice to kill a penalty (we know five is often better than four, but would you rather have your best penalty kill on the ice or your bottom three forwards on a minute plus long shift? Different opinions may result here, your thoughts may very). The point of the rule is well intentioned, but often times lends itself to a grey area in this sport’s highest level that, is not ideal, to say the least.

If you treat this like an icing, we would posit that the percentage of goals scored in the next shift would actually end up being equal to, or higher than power play goals scored on the power play .College hockey, both men’s and women’s, needs to change some rules to mirror the National Hockey League, this is one area where the NHL is clearly in the wrong for having this as a penalty. It allows fresh skaters on the ice to kill the penalty, does nothing to speed the game up, and is not in line with rules players have in other leagues. In a league that makes a lot of money, like the NHL, it seems mildly absurd that we would potentially allow a game seven of the Stanley Cup to be decided because a puck meant to go high off the glass and out of the zone goes one millimeter above the glass and into the stands. Hockey at all levels needs less grey areas in its rules.

Why now

This seems like an easy one that already has some backing from the many fans that give the NHL their ever increasing sums of money on a yearly basis. If you want a goal scored in a playoff overtime, when this is often the only penalty called, would you rather force five tired skaters to stay on the ice, or allow four fresh ones on it? That is the crux of the issue.

The league has tended to prioritize offense, while a power play sounds great, plenty of goals are scored after an icing on a long shift, and this would also simplify things for everyone. This is an idea worthy of its time, and one that would save millions of fans around the world the need to break out a magnifying glass, or elementary knowledge of hockey puck physics in determining if their team gets the power play or not.

Removing the puck over the glass penalty for delay of game, and making the consequence be keeping every skater on the ice seems a more apt punishment. In addition, it forces shorthanded teams to clear the puck properly without relying on reaming the puck around the boards and risking sitting in the box in the process.

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