I saw a Sharks game for the first time; it was my first hockey game since the interminably long game I went to in 1987 (that one was 7 periods long! gah).In my opinion there are too many rules in Hockey that detract from its true nature as a bunch of guys slipping on ice and beating each other. You know what happened to Kendo? They made more and more rules to it until it was little better than fencing, with its nimble artists in dainty white suits. Kendo used to be pretty close to a real duel- you could throw your glove at the other guy’s face and if it hit him, it counted as a point. You could stab people in the throat, and body checks were a lot more common. Your kiai was graded more on its ability to terrify your opponent. Nowadays kendo is still a rough sport, but hardly the exhibition sport of samurai it once was. While the Japanese have gotten used to the new rules of kendo and the rest of the world would never be able to compete under the old rules, I believe it is still not too late for hockey. All the changes I would make to hockey would be simple rules omissions from the current NHL rules. The rules changes would emphasize:
- Crazy skill – makes for more Jedi-like players… maybe I should just admit to myself at this point I’m trying to cross LaCrosse, Hockey, and Kendo into a mayhem-filled sport which might be described as “war on ice”
- Tougher players – boards that give, a softer puck, helmets, nets on the rink, the net held in place by magnets… what is this, golf?!
- Icing – who cares if you slam the damn puck randomly across the rink? If you eliminated Icing as well as any notion of offsides, you could get entire “artillery teams”- teams with a segment of the roster who specialize in making long-distance shots. Maybe more like football. Players would get better at blocking long drives with a chopping motion to stop high velocity pucks without having it ricochet far from them, or making a “catch” like in LaCrosse, or even deflecting the speeding puck, Jedi-style, towards a direction that better suits them.
- High sticking should be allowed, enabling players to bat the puck out of the air with their stick or even hit it like a baseball. This would also encourage aiming for other players with a well-shot high velocity puck.
- We see a lot of Batting the puck to the ice with a hand- how about allowing throwing the puck as well?
- Safety gear requirement – look at all that gear they are wearing! It’s expensive and is only meant to protect the players… but I bet they’d play even if they didn’t have all that stuff on! This isn’t golf! They’d be faster and rougher without their gear I bet.
- Stopping play for fights – just don’t. The fights will continue on, but teams that reign it in a little will now have more players manipulating the puck- while their opponents waste their time beating on a sacrificial player.