NHL Rule Changes To Effect Junior Hockey In The Future

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NHL Rule Changes To Effect Junior Hockey In The Future

Ringette lines

The GMs decided not to put the centre line back in the game nor remove the trapezoid area from behind the goal, but they have an interest in putting in what has been referred to as the ‘ringette’ or ‘Scotty Bowman’ line.

This line would be painted on the ice across the top of the face-off circles in both ends. It would prohibit a team from making a pass across the centre line until the player crosses the ringette line in its own end.

The GMs believe this line would encourage more forechecking and cause the defencemen to display more skill in their own end. But before this rule finds its way into the NHL, the GMs would like the AHL to use the ringette line next season.

AHL president Dave Andrews doesn’t believe there will be opposition from his league to try the ringette lines next season.

"If this group of NHL GMs think this is worth trying, than I don’t have a problem with it and I don’t think there will be a problem trying it," said Andrews, who attended the NHL GM meetings.

If the AHL adopts this rule change for next season, its board of governors would have to approve the matter. The next meeting for the AHL board of governors is on May 8

Hybrid icing is on its way

The general managers also agreed they will switch from touch icing to the hybrid rule that is employed in the junior United States Hockey League.

The USHL has a hybrid rule that is a mixture of touch and no-touch icing. The linesman has the discretion to stop play if he believes the defensive player will reach the puck first.

If the linesman decides the offensive player has a chance to reach the puck first, he can allow for a race to the puck to continue. The linesman also can side with the defensive player if the race is a tie by the time the players reach the faceoff dots.

The language of this hybrid-icing rule still has to be written in a manner that appeases the GMs. But the plan is to present the rule change to the competition committee in June and then hope the board of governors adopt the rule change at its meeting during the week of the NHL entry draft.

This change was long overdue. The touch icing has caused plenty of injuries in a race for the puck. Most recently, Oilers lost defenceman Taylor Fedun when he busted his right femur in a race with then Minnesota Wild forward Eric Nystrom in a preseason game.

Attainable passes also to be wiped out

The NHL GMs exhibited an appetite to stop linesmen from making a judgment call on icings if they deem the stretch pass was attainable by a teammate. The GMs don’t like the fact that this judgment call varies from linesman to linesman.

The competition committee also must agree to this rule change and passed by the competition committee and the NHL Board of Governors.

Odds and ends

The GMs want the officials to be more diligent in watching line changes. They want linesman to enforce that a player can’t hop over the boards on a line change until the player coming off is five feet from the bench … The GMs did not adopt any rule changes with hand passes in the defensive zone, but they instead want to discuss it further … On the final day of the meetings, the GMs will be given a collective bargaining update (the current CBA expires on Sept. 15) and a discussion will take place on the salary cap ceiling for next season, which will between $68-million US and $69-million. This, of course, will be an artificial salary cap number because of the uncertainty of what the next CBA will entail.

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