NHL Insider: GMs went too far proposing rule changes on faceoffs

  • Updated: March 15, 2014 - 7:42 PM

NHL general managers proposed a rule change regarding faceoffs that isn’t popular among players or coaches.

hide

NHL general managers have proposed a new faceoff rule that has some players grumbling already. It would allow linesmen to move cheating players back 12-18 inches on faceoffs.

Photo: File photo by jeff wheeler • jwheeler@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Either the general managers were bored because there were no hot-button topics on the agenda at last week’s GM meetings at the Boca Beach Club or they felt so guilty spending three days golfing and working on their suntans that they had to justify their time in South Florida by doing something.

The NHL game is in such a great place right now, there seemed to be little for the managers to talk about. Head shots are no longer a problem, goalie equipment has been streamlined.

So the execs walked away with three rule-change recommendations, including one pretty drastic one, to the competition committee. All rule changes would have to be approved by the committee and then the Board of Governors.

One makes total sense. In an effort to have more games end before the shootout, teams would switch sides after the third period. That would create the so-called “long change,” which puts defenders far from their respective benches and often causes tired players to get hemmed in their zone, which could create more goals.

The managers then recommended two faceoff rule changes — one so subtle that fans will barely notice, but another that could have a significant impact.

In an attempt to curb “cheating,” instead of a center being kicked out of the circle and replaced by a teammate if a violation is committed before a faceoff, a linesman would make that same booted player take the second faceoff attempt, only that player would be forced to move back 12 to 18 inches. The exact measurement hasn’t been decided.

“I don’t like it at all,” Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. “All it does is create more of a gray area. Faceoffs are quick reactions, both from the center and the linesman. Things happen so quick. Mistakes happen. So you’re going to maybe lose a tight game because a linesman gives the other team a free puck?”

But managers have noticed that 1) Players know linesmen avoid calling penalties (two violations on one faceoff), so they tend to cheat and 2) after icings, a winger will take the draw and intentionally commit a violation to get kicked out for a center just to buy more rest for trapped teammates.

Wild center Kyle Brodziak said: “This seems like a drastic rule change and gimmicky. It’s a linesman’s job to make sure players don’t cheat. I mean, is this that much of an issue? I think it’ll lead to more cheating because linesmen are not going to want to be backing guys up.”

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher says that’s his big concern.

“I think the will of the group was to find fairer faceoffs, but to me these are new ideas and I think there’s probably a lot more discussion that’s needed to flush out the positives and negatives,” Fletcher said. “Nevertheless, it is going down the path to the competition committee.”

Only in the NHL can a rule change actually move up the chain without all the positives and negatives being flushed out.

Even though there are rules in place to determine cheaters, it’s still a pretty subjective call by a linesman. Look how many heated debates occur between centers and linesmen throughout a game.

In 2010, Wild center Matt Cullen got into a game-long duel with linesman Johnny Murray. Murray kicked Cullen out seven times, including once before Cullen even got to the dot.

Linesmen are human. Can you imagine if a frustrated linesman has the power to move a center back 18 inches on a defensive-zone draw in a tie game in the final minute?

This proposal seems like it can open up a major can of worms and cost teams games.

“There’s a lot of what-ifs that I’m not sure we’ve looked at,” Fletcher said. “Personally, I think we need to be a little more cautious in this regard.”

NHL short takes

  • related content

  • Wild's week ahead

    Saturday March 15, 2014

    the WILD’S WEEK AHEADMonday: 6:30 p.m. at Boston (NBCSN)Tuesday: 6 p.m. at N.Y. Islanders (FSN)Thursday: 6 p.m. at New Jersey...

  • NHL short takes

    Saturday March 15, 2014

    A lot off the top?The biggest news at the GM’s meetings came when Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis was peppered...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Latos 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Boston - J. Kelly 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Detroit - K. Lobstein 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Penny
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
LA Angels - C. Wilson 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Texas - D. Holland 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Washington - D. Fister 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close