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AHL rules changes could be the future for NHL

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David Maxwell

The AHL Board of Governors have concluded their meetings in beautiful South Carolina and made a few changes for next season. We've seen things like hybrid icing tried out there before being implemented in the NHL, so this provides some insight into what the NHL is considering changing in the big leagues.

Rule 85 (“Overtime”)

  • During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.

  • Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.

  • Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.

  • If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

This is big. Two extra minutes of overtime, the long change, going 3v3 and cutting two shooters from the skills comp. Lots of new strategies to try, which is probably the best part because coaches have the current system so dialed it really doesn't perform as designed.

Rule 20.4 (“Major Penalties”)

  • An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.

Two fights and you get an automatic misconduct. Not a big deal, anyone getting two majors is probably looking to get thrown out anyway. Same goes for 3 majors.

Rule 9.6 (“Helmets”)

  • A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.

The helmet rule now in place for International competition. Makes a lot of sense in most cases.