NHL R&D Camp: What Could Work in NHL

Last week, NHL VP Brendan Shannahan headed up a Research and Development Camp in Toronto where several items were tested to help improve hockey in the NHL. We previewed two weeks ago what was going to be tested and experimented. Some were simply calculated risks, ones that could never see the light of the NHL. Some were also on the table last year but needed further questioning and testing while others have a realistic chance of coming to an arena near you.

Below is what I believe is what will come into play in the NHL in the near future, what could see the light of day, and what has zero chance of making it past the R&D Camp.

What You Will See

-HD Camera Inside the Goal

In the modern age of 2011, I’m surprised we haven’t had high-definition cameras inside the nets to help with video reviews. I know we have the War Room in Toronto to help with decisions, but if we could cut down the time it takes to review a potential goal, that would help. They also tested putting a clear sheet of glass above the net over the bar and mesh to help. I disagree with this because every arena is different and the last thing someone needs is having the glare of arena lights reflect off a plexiglass sheet over the goal when trying to review a goal.

-Shallower Nets

Another innovation I like. This innovation would decrease the depth of the goal from 44″ to 40″. That four inches could give players a little more room behind the nets to help setup plays and cycle the puck. It’s not going to change the area you have to score through (4′ x 6′) but from the reports I have read, there wasn’t much opposition to this.

Expect something looking like this at your local NHL arena this season

-Curved Glass at Turnbuckle

As we saw with Max Pacioretty last season, something needs to be done to prevent more injuries at the glass turnbuckle. They have developed and according to Slam! Sports approved a concave glass at the end of the benches. It will be in place at every arena this upcoming season and while it is great for safety, I have posed a couple questions for it. The first being is the curved glass considered in play? It is possible for some players to shoot the puck toward it to have it bounce back into play and fool the defense. Players will also have to react to how the puck bounces off the glass. Look for it to change a few games and lead to goals. I guarantee it.

What You Could See

-Hybrid Icing

Just like what I touched on last year, this is something that sounds good in theory but I can’t see it being practical. As a hockey official, I already have enough discretion to determine if a puck has enough momentum to reach the red line or not (as USA hockey plays goal line icing versus touch icing in professional leagues), I don’t want to add more to the linesman’s plate as to call it icing or not for the sake of safety. It’s just asking for controversial calls to be made at the wrong moment.

Yellow Verification Line

I’m not as All-In as other members of the media are, simply because it kind of looks ugly from a visual aspect of it. But if it passes, I could get used to seeing it and having the explain to non-hockey fans that is not a second goal line. What the yellow verification line is, is a yellow line about 3″ behind the red goal line being placed to assist in video reviews. It’s plain and simple, if you can see it touches the line, it’s a goal. If you didn’t know, the overhead goal camera isn’t 100 percent directly over the goal line. If it were, you wouldn’t be able to see the line because the crossbar would be blocking your view. Since the camera is positioned back at a slight angle, the yellow line would help with depth perception to determine if the puck did or did not cross the goal line

-Removing the Trapezoid

While the trapezoid is good for fore-checking and offense, it is terrible to watch goalies attempt to play the puck only to retreat to the net because it entered the area where they cannot play the puck. And after having it for six seasons, we have seen too many goalies fumble the puck and allow a cheap goal because of the keeper being scared to come near the restricted zone. It also slowed down teams like New Jersey what had aggressive, puck moving goalies.

What You Will Never See

-Offsides Moved to Defending Zone

A team receiving a penalty is already dinged when the faceoff is now in their defending zone. Can you imagine this if it was for all offsides? The puck is already moved for intentional off sides but moving it for every offside call is too much.

-Five Player Shootout

A lot of three-player shootouts go to four or even five players as it is because of players missing or scoring goals. A game decided in 65 minutes of hockey and six-plus shootout contestants is long enough as it is. We don’t need to drag it out any longer. Most fans and hockey snobs hate the shootout to begin with, do we really need to give them more ammo?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *