With the off-season coming to a close soon, I was thinking about the possible rule changes that could be made this year and it took me back to all the rule changes that came about after the 2004-05 lockout season.
Before the 04-05 Lockout, we as hockey fans had a few things we would have done to change the rules of the game we love. A couple examples of this for me included the two line pass, (it needed to go) and increasing the offensive zones by four feet. Ridding the game of the two line pass made the puck move faster, we saw players that used to have to contain their speed start to explode off the their defending blue-line streaking for a breakaway home-run pass to blow buy the oppositions defense. Increasing the offensive zones by four feet, which would shrink the neutral zone by a total of four feet, and moving the goal line closer to the end wall by two feet made for a more open ice game in the attacking zones and has made watching the game much more exciting.
Now that I’ve covered some of the positive results of the Lockout rule changes, let me explain what (in my opinion) is ruining professional hockey. First is the creation of the “Three Point Era”. Why on this earth do we need three points given in a game? The answer is we don’t.
A team receiving a point for simply making it to the overtime period is the professional sport equivalent of the “participation trophy”. Just because a team was able to hold off losing for sixty minutes does not mean they deserve to get a point. Before the lockout if both teams couldn’t score in overtime they tied and split the two point available.I realize a tie is not always the greatest way to end a game, but in my opinion it is better than giving away points just because a team didn’t lose in regulation.
This brings me to my second point, the shootout. I’ll admit at first the shootout was exciting to watch, what fan wouldn’t want to see a chance of what was basically a round of penalty shots to decide a regular season game. But after eight years of watching, it has become mundane and (for me) almost makes the rare penalty shot boring. If the league were to bring back the tie, the shootout isn’t needed.
Here is my idea for making overtime worth getting rid of the shootout. Extend the overtime period to ten minutes, move from four on four to five on five, and do away with sudden death. No player is going to want to play an extra ten minutes, which will increase the desperation play throughout the game especially in the third period. If and when a game does reach overtime, we as fans will see a more playoff like experience, strategic game play and puck movement. That and we will never hear these words again, “We lost, but we’ll take that point and do better next time.”