#case #NHL #pond #hockey #rules #overtime
Tradition went out the window long ago: it’s time for the NHL to institute pond hockey in overtime.
That’s right. No blue line. No center red line. No offside rule. No icing. Just drop the puck and let the best players in the world take over.
Now, I want to be clear on something before people start to freak out. There still needs to be officials. I’m not advocating for utter lawlessness. I think the referees should be able to assess penalties if necessary.
But I’m over trying to police the game when there are only six skaters and two goaltenders on the ice. Why bother with lines? Why does the offside rule even exist when the whole point of overtime is to determine a winner?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve come to enjoy the shootout. It’s a novelty reserved for the regular season. And I loved the challenge of it when I was playing.
But I think the shootout should be the absolute last resort when it comes to finishing a hockey game. And I’m willing to take things to the extreme.
If the NHL were to open up the entire ice, I guarantee more games would finish with a hockey play. Isn’t that what most fans want anyway? I sure do. And I know countless former alumni feel the same way.
So why do we cling so hard to tradition? The NHL has already gone to three-on-three in overtime. Why is taking away the lines a step too far?
I don’t think it is. But plenty of people seem to disagree.
There’s the argument that cherry pickers would ruin overtime. That a team will send a player down the ice awaiting a home run pass from a teammate.
And you know what? That would probably happen. Especially towards the end of the NHL regular season when clubs get desperate to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But my argument is this: intentionally playing two-versus-three in your own end is a stupid proposition. Giving up all that space to the opposing team is an open invitation to lose.
Even if a team is lucky enough to gain possession and fire the puck down the ice to an open teammate, who’s to say that player will score?
It’s not a foregone conclusion. Goaltenders will make saves. And after doing so, they can shoot the puck right back down the ice.
So basically what I’m saying is this: I don’t think you’d see cherry-picking used very often as a tactic. Unless it was a faceoff play in the neutral zone.
And in that case, I say go for it. So what if a player received a pass a few feet beyond the blue line.
I’ve been marinating on this idea since the 2022 NHL All-Star Game in Vegas, when there was an official review to determine if play was offside. In an All-Star game!
It was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever witnessed. Players don’t care about the outcome of an All-Star game. They really don’t.
The NHL can incentivize winning as much as possible, and it just doesn’t matter. Players simply aren’t going to put their bodies on the line.
Yet the NHL felt the ASG was serious enough to warrant video review at the blue line. It all seemed so unnecessary. I kept questioning how the rules enhanced the game.
To me, that’s what this is about. The NHL rulebook is there to help present the best possible product. And I can’t think of anyone happy about a video review happening during an exhibition.
Talk about a buzzkill.
I don’t think it’s much different during the regular season. On Nov. 15, 2022, when the St. Louis Blues played against the Edmonton Oilers, Leon Draisaitl appeared to score the game-winning goal in overtime.
But video review determined that Connor McDavid was offside just moments before.