Monday, June 06, 2005


NHL R & D Day 1

From a good source in attendance of today's activities who was kind enough to send me this report.

"Mondays rules experiment was the first of a three day process (Monday thru Wednesday) by which the NHL can test out a variety of potential new rules and gauge their importance and relevancy for now and the future.

It was held in two stages (each 2:30 in length) at a four pad rink just north of the Toronto Airport.

In attendance were a bevy of NHL GM's (About 15), a few NHL coaches, several broadcasters and the always inquisitive (and usually negative) Toronto Media. Most interesting was the level of welcomed experimentation from these two sessions. Hockey has long been a sport rooted in tradition, but today's gathering saw nothing of the sort as a group of over-aged juniors were divided into two teams and took to the ice at 8:00 am for the first session, and the result seemed to perk interest of all attendees, if nothing else.

Both session had these commonalities.

1. Tag Up Rule for offside
2. Automatic icing
3. 4 on 4 Overtime for 5 minutes at the end of each session no matter the score
4. 3 on 3 Overtime for 5 minutes after the 4 on 4 no matter the score
5. A shootout no matter the score.
6. Smaller goalie equipment, the pads for example were 11 inches wide instead of 13 of 14 ..

SESSION ONE .. 8:00 am to 10:30 am

This one was the most likely to offend the traditionalists. Suggested by Boston's Harry Sinden, Mike O'Connell and scout Bob Tindall, the ice was virtually line-less. The only lines you would recognize were the goal lines, and the centre line. A line chiefly called the "Bowman Line" was placed on top of the circles in each end. If the offensive team could carry the puck past their own "Bowman Line" all passes were onside except if it went for icing. The ice was then stretched and the players began trying to connect on long bomb passes areas near the other teams net.

Power plays could be set up with the point men out near centre ice because once past your own "Bowman Line" the ice stretched to near shinny levels. The result was an interesting experiment that caused a great deal of discussion and intrigued the normally conservative gathering. Don't expect to see it anytime soon but items from it may spawn off into other ideas for the future.

SESSION TWO .. 2:00 pm to 4:30 PM

The key two points here .. The centre line was out and NEW nets were used .. These were 8 inches wider and four inches taller. The goalies(with smaller equipment) had a tough time adjusting at first (It was their first time using them) but both teams had their goalies make many excellent stops as shooters aimed for the increased target.

Much more of a traditional game, but the nets really caused a stir.

Day one is complete and Tuesday promises another sized net and other goodies for those on hand.

Many GM's interviewed said they liked the nets."

I'd like to thank this source for the report...stay tuned for tomorrow...

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