How would the proposed rule changes affect the Wings?
Robert DAurelio on Thu, 2012-03-15 20:30
The GM meetings in Boca Roaton just recently wrapped up and GMs discussed some rule potential changes that on the surface, wouldn't largely affect the game. More relevant topics could have been discussed, like head shots, concussions, and the potential lockout that is staring everyone in the face. The speed of the game, head shots, and concussions all have seemed to increase since the 2004-2005 lockout (REVENUE has also increased too, every year, *cough*). The subtle point of revenue increasing is likely the reason there are only small rule changes being proposed, with the GMs likely thinking 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. As long as the game continues to grow, more revenue will be generated, the salary cap will increase (pending the new CBA), and the teams with deeper pockets will be at a greater competitive advantage than the majority of the league (Mike Ilitch is still the owner of the Wings, right?). Though small in scope, these proposed rule changes are somewhat interesting, and especially when you consider what they may mean for Detroit.
No Hand Passes
As it stands, hand passes are legal for the team in its defensive zone. This becomes very helpful during the penalty kill, as a player could quickly shuffle the puck with his hand to a teammate, which soon after the puck is blasted down the ice to kill precious seconds off a powerplay and more importantly, take immediate pressure away. If a defending player did use his hand to pass the puck, a minor penalty would be assessed. Even though the Wings' powerplay has struggled as of late, this change would give a talent-laden team like the Wings an advantage. Whether the Wings are even-strength, on a powerplay, or a 6 on 5, being able to sport Franzen, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, White, and Lidstrom on the ice is a major advantage with this rule in place. If a defending player knows he cannot play the puck with his glove, that player will adjust accordingly, and now passing the puck with his hand is no longer the optimal choice (they're next best choice may result in a mistake). This gives players like Datsyuk and Zetterberg (who do not need much time and space to operate) an extra second or two to take another step toward the hash, make a pass, execute a quick deke, or even better, release a quick shot that results in a goal. The less skilled a team is, the more they benefit from hand passes being legal. The Red Wings are the exact opposite of that. Chalk up this one as a win if passed.
This proposition has been discussed extensively recently. It stems from players getting blown up into the boards while racing down the ice for the puck trying to negate icing. Sometimes players even slide into the boards feet first, resulting in their ankles exploding. It can be very dangerous but at the same time, that same race for the puck is one of the more exciting plays in hockey. Teams with speedy forwards like, say, Detroit (Darren Helm), would definitely not benefit from this sort of rule. The thinking being that if Helm is half a step behind the front runner for the puck, he could still win that race if he had the extra time and space to get to the puck. If that ice area is reduced, Helm might not be able to makeup the space between him and the opposing player. This is one of the more tougher rule changes to debate, considering there is a huge trade off between the exciting race for the puck and the moments you hold your breath hoping one of your forwards is able to walk after a collision against the end boards. Regardless, this debate should be put aside and the NHL and NHLPA should be focusing on implementing measures to reduce head shots and concussions. I'm pretty neutral as to keeping this rule in. But then again, Detroit has to play against players like David Bolland and Dan Carcillo six times per year, who probably would salivate at the opportunity to drill Zetterberg or Datsyuk into the boards head first. Ok, I take it back, I wouldn't mind hybrid icing.
The Ringette Line aka The Bowman Rule
First off, this proposed rule needs a better name because it just sounds ridiculous. The Ringette Line would run across the tops of the face-off circles. It's purpose is to stop long two line passes from deep in the defensive zone to the far attacking blue line. This rule is intended to be a compromise between leaving the game as is and re-instituting the red line. The team that has possession of the puck in the defensive zone would have to carry the puck to at least the "Ringette Line" (ugh) before they can execute a two line pass. In theory, if implemented, the defending team wouldn't have to sit back at their own blue line to defend long two line passes and could send in more forecheckers. This would put pressure on the defencemen behind the net to push the puck up to the Ringette Line before they could make a two line pass. This may result in forecheckers getting in and disrupting breakouts and may cause many errant passes (which could lead to more goals, just watch Jakub Kindl play hockey). Well, lets see how this could affect the Wings ultimate breakout offense: not good. The Wings defense is super involved in breaking out the rush, and their top 4 defencemen are able to make the longest of two line passes with ease. This wouldn't be completely detrimental to the Red Wing offense, but as mentioned earlier, I wouldn't like seeing Chicago and Nashville's speedy and nasty forwards barreling down on Lidstrom every shift. For the sake of the Wings, this would not be a good rule to install.
So after analyzing these proposed rule changes, what rules (talked about, proposed, or completely original) do you think will surely help the Red Wings? I view the Wings as the team that can always adapt and eventually flourish when changes are made in the game because they have great management, coaching, and skill. If these rules are implemented, they will adapt, right?