Photo: The Globe And Mail

Earlier this week we reviewed the non-active-play changes tested out at Brendan Shanahan’s GM circle jerk known as “R&D Camp.” Today we look at the proposed changes that will affect play on the ice. Buckle up, people; the stupidity has been flowing fast and furious among the league’s brain trust.

No line changes allowed for offending teams when called for off-sides: One of the most unique things about the game of hockey is the ability for teams to change players on the ice at nearly any time. The imbecile who came up with this rule for icing should have had his eyeballs ripped out with needle-nose pliers, and the same fate should befall the twit who came up with this too. But you know the league: they’ll implement this rule.

Face-off moves to offending team’s zone when called for off-sides: I don’t think this goes far enough, actually. I think that for off-sides calls the face off should be moved inside the crease. In fact, how about one inch in front of the offending team’s goal line. Maybe a half-inch. Oh wait, I’ve got it: off-sides calls result in a penalty shot. They want to increase offense? That will increase offense! They never listen to me, however: but for now, you can expect to see this rule despite it’s obvious shortcomings.

No-touch icing: When the puck clears the goal line, the play is blown dead. This has been the standard in the NCAA for years and years and years. It reduces player injuries and keeps more time on the clock. But will the NHL implement it? Nope. Why? Because they seem to think that player safety doesn’t mean shit, and they would prefer to have their million-dollar athletes skate full-blast into an immovable object for the entertainment of all. No-touch icing is a good idea, but we won’t see it until the NHLPA sues to have it implemented. Figure we’ll see about a dozen players be paralyzed or even killed before that happens.

Hybrid icing: On a delayed icing call, the standard becomes the first player to reach the face-off circle, not the first one to touch the puck. If it’s the defenseman, the play is blown dead. If it’s the attacking forward, the play continues — with both players still hurtling at warp speed towards a hospital bed. Another idiotic idea, but this one they’ll actually put in place. Look for it to be tested during select pre-season games, and implemented during the regular season. And look for it to be confusing and controversial, and be pilloried as one of the dumbest new rules in decades.

“The Bear Hug”: One of Brian “Brontosaurus” Burke’s brilliant ideas, this would allow players to grab one another from behind to prevent full-speed crashes during races towards the boards. Burke also suggested that players be able to tickle one another in the corner, and play patty-cake at the face-off circle. Please, somebody just smack that idiot upside the head with a two-by-four and spare us the agony going forward. Pray we don’t see this anytime soon.

Icing would be called on short-handed teams: Yet another pathetic attempt to increase offense, it would merely allow teams to ice the puck and get a rest during the stoppage of play — even if they weren’t allowed to change lines. One coach has already stated that he would employ that precise tactic. More play stoppages is exactly the opposite of what the league is trying to achieve, so it’s doubtful this will ever see the light of day. Thank goodness.

Four-minute 4-on-4 overtime, followed by 3-minute 3-on-3 overtime: Who cares. Overtime during the regular season is a blasphemous disgrace and should be abolished in its entirety.  But the league will implement this.

5-player initial shootout phase (instead of the current 3-player) before going to sudden death: Who cares. The shootout is a blasphemous disgrace and should be abolished in its entirety. But the league will implement this too.

Shallower nets: The size of the base of the net would be reduced in depth, such that there is more playable ice surface between the end boards and the net. Again, this doesn’t go far enough. Technology has advanced to the point where we don’t really even need a net. 3-D laser imaging technology can detect in real time when the puck has crossed the vertical plane defined within the 4′ x 6′ rectangle where the net normally stands, even when the puck is inside a goaltender’s glove or under their pads. This would save the cost of two goal judges, take away time-sucking calls from the “War Room”, and eliminate those pesky hit-the-post plays too. Time marches on, progress will not be thwarted: who needs nets? For that matter, who needs boards? Or sticks? Or ice? Or FANS?!?

Rescind the “trapezoid” rule: THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the ONLY worthwhile thing that happened at R&D Camp. Subsequently, the league will not implement it. Some idiot came up with this rule, and despite its stupidity and ineffectiveness, he will squeal like a stuck pig if they try to remove it. So we’re stuck with it.

Be prepared for next year: Shanahan has leaked word that TV time-outs will now feature short Ultimate Fighting cage matches between naked, pudding-covered midgets. They believe it will increase offense.

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I am going to keep repeating this until somebody at NHL headquarters gets it through their cement-filled skull: tinkering with the rules makes professional hockey, with a history dating back to the 1890′s, look like a late-night cable TV game show. The mere idea that ANY rules changes were being considered should be causing riots to make Vancouver look like a spring cotillion. This tawdry pandering on the part of the game’s mercenary owners is disgraceful, and anyone taking part in these Ruin & Destroy Camps should be beaten with Georges Vezina’s goal stick.

You want to make the game better? Stop changing the rules every fucking year, and play hockey.

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