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Rule Changes for the 2014-15 NHL Season

The NHL implements changes to the NHL rulebook for the 2014-15 season.

Mitchell Leff

The NHL announced today that the Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Player's Association agreed to a number of changes to the rules for the 2014-15 NHL season.

Rule 1.8 – Rink - Goalkeeper's Restricted Area

The trapezoid, the area behind the net in which goalies are allowed to handle the puck, has been increased by 2 feet on either side of the net. Under the previous rules the top of the trapezoid extended 6 feet from either side of the goal post.

Rule 23 – Game Misconduct Penalties

The league added a new category of Game Misconduct penalties so that all of the physical fowls will incur automatic supplementary discipline for repeat offenders. If a player gets 2 Game Misconducts for any of these infractions it results in an automatic 1 game suspension. The physical fouls that can apply to this now include Clipping, Charging, Elbowing, Interference, Kneeing, Head-Butting, and Butt-Ending. Under the previous rules only Boarding and Checking From Behind would count towards the automatic suspension.

Rule 24 – Penalty Shot

The league has outlawed the use of the "Spin-O-Rama" in penalty shot or shootout situations. So under the new rules the play would be blown dead with no goal awarded just as if a player lost control of the puck or was no longer engaged in continuous motion with the puck. This rule change shouldn't be a huge deal, although Malkin has been known to partake in this showy play from time to time.

Rule 38 – Video Goal Judge

The league is expanding the amount of power the Hockey Operations department has in exercising video reviews. Under the old rules there were only certain situations in which they were allowed to overturn a call of the ice, but now they have more leeway to make the right call and ensure that most goals are called correctly, including now being allowed to overturn the "Intent to Blow" ruling when the ref on the ice loses track of the puck and calls a stoppage of play.

In addition, they are going to be more lenient with no-goals that result from kicking the puck. They now require an even more clear cut proof of a "distinct kicking motion" in order to wave off a goal.

Rule 57 – Tripping

The Tripping rule has been amended so that any defender who dives to the ice in an attempt to break up a play and inadvertently trips up the opposing player will now be assessed a 2 minute minor. If the player dives and trips the opponent without first touching the puck, this may even result in a penalty shot.

Rule 64 – Diving / Embellishment

The Diving rule now has an altered fine progression for repeat offenders, and may even result in fines for the coach if a player is caught diving enough times.

Incident # Player Fine(s) Head Coach Fine(s)
1 Warning N/A
2 $2,000 N/A
3 $3,000 N/A
4 $4,000 $2,000
5 $5,000 $3,000
6 $5,000 $4,000
7 $5,000 $5,000
8 $5,000 $5,000

In theory this could help be a deterrent against those that like to dive to draw penalties that should not really exist. However, it is dependent upon the refs actually calling the player for Embellishment, and we have seen in the past that they are extremely reluctant to do so.

Rule 76 – Face-offs

The rules for post-icing faceoffs have been altered slightly. In the past some teams were known for using a delaying tactic in order to get extra rest for their players by purposely taking a faceoff infraction, resulting in having to reset and drop the puck again. However, under the new rules if this were to happen they make the original player remain to take the 2nd faceoff, and asses a 2-minute minor penalty if this results in a 2nd infraction.

In theory this is helpful, since teams will put in their less desirable option for the initial faceoff, knowing he will get kicked out, and allow their better faceoff man to take the 2nd draw. They can no longer do this, however since the new rule results in the original offender remaining in the faceoff circle, this does nothing to prevent the team from starting with their intended faceoff man and still employing the same delay tactics by purposely causing a redraw.

Rule 84 – Overtime

The NHL did not implement the experimental OT rules that the AHL will be using this season, but they did make some minor adjustments. One change is that the teams now switch sides for OT, just as one does between regular periods. The other slight difference is that teams no longer have to supply a list of their first 3 players for the shootout.

Rule 85 – Puck Out of Bounds

In order to increase the flow of play and not penalize the offense team for an unfortunate bounce they are altering the rules to cause the faceoff to remain in the O-zone following a few additional scenarios. The teams will now remain in the O-zone to start a new faceoff when "(i) the shot breaks the glass; (ii) the shot goes off the side of the net and deflects out of play; (iii) the shot goes off the dasher boards or glass and deflects out of play; (iv) the shot is tipped or deflected out of play by a teammate; and (v) the shot becomes wedged in or on the exterior of the goal net." Under the previous rules these situations resulted in the faceoff being taken out in the neutral zone.

Lastly we have one experimental rule that they will implement in pre-season and then vote on whether or not to keep it.

Rule 1.9 – Rink – Face-off Spots and Circles – Ice Markings/Hash Marks

The hash marks on the faceoff dot are being changed to match the IIHF dimensions at 5'7", under the previous rules the hash marks were 3 feet. Now I understand most of us don't really know the point of the hash marks, but when the puck is being dropped the players are not allowed to pass these lines, and if they are to do so it results in a faceoff violation and forces a redraw. So the change there will hardly be noticeable.