One of the interesting rules that the league’s brass and general managers took a look at today was the Delayed Penalty Rule. The added wrinkle would require a team to not only gain possession of the puck, but to also get the puck out of their own zone before the referee blows the play dead. Think of all of those tense moments when fans are yelling for the team to just touch the puck; now they’d be yelling to not only touch the puck, but get possession, and completely clear the puck.
The rationale straight from the league’s RDO release:
“The extra time it will take a team to clear their zone, will be more time the non-offending team will have with an extra attacker which will provide more offense.”
Anyone who has followed hockey knows the uneasy feeling during the anxious few seconds when a team is desperately trying to touch the puck on a delayed penalty. Take that tense feeling and multiply it by a few seconds—maybe even a full minute. It creates yet another disadvantage for a team that has been penalized which would create a) more scoring and b) further dissuade teams from taking penalties. Oilers GM Steve Tambellini talked to Dan Rosen of NHL.com about the new rule:
“You recognize the onus is on the player to get the puck out before they can blow the whistle. The play is not over. You have to work to earn the right to get the whistle. I didn’t mind that.”
“It also creates fatigue. Say you’re playing Detroit and they’ve been in the zone for a minute and a half, then you take a penalty and now you have to get it out of the zone. You’ll have a much greater chance for a scoring opportunity.”
The rule falls right in line with most of the other prospective rules: reduce the number of whistles and increase scoring. Like so many other rules, this is one that will probably take a little time for the league to consider, so don’t expect it to make an appearance for the upcoming season. But like last year, the rules that were being evaluated can make reappearance the next year when GMs have a better idea of what to expect and have had a year to think about any implications. Rules that start to gain traction this year could be up for real debate for the 2012-13 season. It sounds like most of the people involved liked the new twist on the delayed penalty—the next step will be to see just how vocal the proponents are over the coming months.
For one, this possible rule change sounds like it has some potential.