Four Rule Changes the NHL Forgot to Tell You About

NHL general managers recently had their annual meeting in sexy sunny Boca Raton, where they gathered to discuss the State of the Game. It’s a meeting that brings us our yearly dose of ideas to add more scoring to the game, to fix problems that don’t exist, and to brainstorm ways to fix the problems created by last year’s fixes.

By the start of the season next fall, we will discover that all of the initiatives to increase scoring have failed, and that NHL announcers have no idea what the new rules are. These regulations will join the ineffectual storied tradition of other rules like getting rid of the red line (still there), the addition of the trapezoid (hated), smaller goaltender equipment (red herring) and reducing the size and importance of the crease (wrong size and importance).

This year, GMs have decided to discuss such hot-button issues as how long a defenseman can hold the puck inside the trapezoid. They’ve also decided to decrease goaltender pads again. It didn’t work last time, but it’s definitely going to work this time.

Meanwhile, no changes to Rule 48—regarding illegal hits to the head—took place, probably because concussions don’t exist, and if they do, they totally don’t affect athletes, and if they do affect athletes, then it didn’t happen here, according to court documents.

Asked about this, an unnamed source said, “Shh, shh. There, there. Don’t talk. Daddy’s talking and Daddy’s always right.”

In the great spirit of Trying To Get Rid Of Things You Can’t Say You’re Trying To Get Rid Of, impotent attempts to increase scoring, surprising efforts to fix things that aren’t broken, and duct-tape repair work on last year’s new rules, I bring you four suggestions for the GMs to consider the next time the GMs gather to golf discuss NHL rules.

An Expansion Team in Chicago

You thought expansion was heading to Las Vegas or Quebec City? Guess again! Hope you didn’t guess Seattle, because we’re headed to Chicago. You’re saying, “I never heard Chicago was getting a second team?” That because that’s exactly what they want you to think.

Everything is going according to plan.

The NHL’s 31st team will be named the Chicago Blackhawks. They will play at the United Center. Their colors will be red and black, and they will be huge for the NHL. The league will get twice the mileage out of its favorite team. Winter Classic? Blackhawks vs. Blackhawks (Blackhawks are the home team). Heritage Classic? It’s a home-and-home with the NHL’s Geese That Laid the Golden Egg.

Wednesday Night Rivalry? Twice as many opportunities to broadcast the Blackhawks! All-Star Game? Blackhawks game!

Murder Holes

These are puck-sized holes in the glass, right at face level for front-row patrons.

If you bang on the glass, it will trigger a latch. Now the murder hole is open. Players can choose to spear you through the murder hole or fire a puck at you. Refs will also carry pouches of quicklime in case they feel that players aren’t using the murder holes to their advantage.

This won’t discourage banging on the glass; if those sorts of people could be taught anything, they wouldn’t be banging on the glass in the first place. It will give GMs something to fix next year.

Penalizing the Wave

I know you’re going to hate this one, and that’s okay. Everyone who gets a penalty complains on their way to the box.

If you’re caught doing the wave and you’re older than 14, your team is taking a minor penalty. No discussions.

Every Team Must Have Siblings

Look, we’re all lost in salary-cap nonsense. “Long-term injured reserve did what to the Red Wings’ salary? The Kings’ Dean Lombardi got out of how many contracts? What happened to Ilya Kovalchuk? The Blackhawks A team can sideline Patrick Kane a player and then use LTIR to trade for all the Pokemon because there’s no salary cap in the postseason?”

Fine, let’s make it really interesting: every team needs to have relatives somewhere in the system. If you need to bring guys over from Europe and bury them in the AHL, that’s on you. You want to sign Ryan and Chris Bourque and have them play in the AHL? Great. You’re covered, Washington.

Get creative. Daryl Sutter’s your coach, LA? Having Brett Sutter in the AHL has you covered. If you’ve got Elias Lindholm, Carolina, cousin Calle Jarnkrok will take care of you. Have Nick Foligno but Marcus isn’t available, Columbus? Get Wade Redden on the phone and out of retirement, because he married into the family and that’s good enough.

By my count, eight teams are Family Compliant already. The other 22 have until October to figure out how good Marcel Hossa is, when Nick Shore’s youngest brother is draft eligible, how many Subbans there are, and whatever happened to Carl Klingberg and Jarkko Ruutu.


Dustin Nelson is a hockey writer and Master Rule Creator. You should follow him on Twitter.