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Competition committee recommends changes to OT, among others

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

The NHL rules committee suggested some changes including making the goalie trapezoid bigger. (USATSI)
The NHL competition committee suggested some changes including making the goalie trapezoid bigger. (USATSI)

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The NHL's competition committee which included league officials led by Colin Campbell, executive vice president of hockey operations for the league, as well as representatives from the NHLPA including several current players, met for five hours Monday in New York to discuss alterations to current league guidelines.

Out of that meeting, several rule recommendations were made. The rules committee can only make recommendations. The final decision belongs to the NHL owners and general managers and board of governors. Campbell and NHLPA Mathieu Schneider addressed the media prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to share some of the recommendations that were made.

Some of the hot topics brought forth to the committee was expanding video review, subtle changes to overtime, a coach's challenge, embellishment and the trapezoid behind the net. Here's a look at topics the committee tackled.

On a coach's challenge: The rules committee did not come to a consensus on a coach's challenge, but it was debated. One idea presented included allowing a coach to challenge certain calls by asking for video review. The idea is that a coach can only challenge a call if he has his timeout still. It could apply to things like offside calls, puck over the glass, goalie trapezoid violations and things of that nature, not other penalty calls that are up to referee's discretion. It will be limited, but helps cover some ground. This will likely get more conversation when the general managers go over it.

On video review: The committee did not come to a resolution on if or how video review should be expanded in its present form, particularly as it pertains to goaltender interference. According to Campbell and NHLPA exec Mathieu Schneider, the room for subjectivity on goalie interference calls makes it tougher for a video review to make any difference, so it is therefore unlikely to be implemented. Bad news for Henrik Lundqvist.

On overtime: The committee recommended that the two teams switch ends after a dry scrape of the ice surface in overtime going forward. Currently, the teams occupy the same ends they defended in the third period. The theory on switching ends is that the long change for teams will lead to more games ending in overtime instead of so many going to the shootout. A dry scrape, which is essentially a pass by the zambonis to clear snow off the ice without putting fresh water down could help make OT a little cleaner without the time necessary to completely resurface the ice. The rest remains the same, as it will be five minutes and four-on-four.

On the trapezoid: The committee recommended extending the trapezoid, which designates the area in which the goaltender can play the puck, by two feet on either side. That will allow goaltenders a little more freedom to play the puck, but not a lot. It actually would be more helpful to defensemen as Schneider explained it would keep them out of the "danger zones" behind the net.

On faceoff hash marks: The committee recommended that the hash marks that separate opposing forwards around the faceoff circles in each zone be expanded to Olympic faceoff circle standards, which is 5 feet. They are currently 3½ feet. That could help lead to more offense off the offensive zone faceoffs.

On embellishment: Campbell called embellishment a real problem in the game and getting out of control. The committee explored making stronger penalties for it. Among the possibilities being suggested would be suspensions for players who embellish, as well as extending penalties to coaches and teams by way of fines.

On icing: The committee suggested that when a team ices the puck, they can only use one center to take the ensuing faceoff. Since teams can't change, more astute players will attempt to be thrown out of the draw in order to waste some time to allow his teammates and himself to catch their breaths a bit more. So essentially the new rules would take away that little bit of gamesmanship.

Most of these changes aren't earth shattering, but the coach's challenge and overtime switch could help a fair amount. The league still needs to take a longer look at video review, however, as that in it current form is probably not doing enough. The coach's challenge could alleviate some of that, but there are probably better ways to go about getting calls right.

Either way, the NHL is moving in the right direction, should most of these recommendations make it through the next phase of implementation.

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