Three Dumb NHL Rules That Should Be Fixed


Hybrid icing is being tested in the preseason this year and fans are trying to adjust to the rule and debate whether hybrid icing is a good idea. While hybrid icing is tossed around in the front offices, there are three rules in the NHL that need to beat dealt with first. (BEATING DEAD HORSE ALERT) The validity of these three rules have been discussed in every hockey medium, but it seems like there is a simple solution to change these rules and make the game a better product.

1. Delay of Game Penalty

It’s a frustrating penalty. Your team is on the defensive shift and they are gassed. In an effort to get a change, the defenseman takes the puck and attempts to bounce it off the glass and out of the zone. The d-man gets too much under the puck and it leaves the rink and goes into the stands. He goes into the penalty box for two for a delay of game.

What makes the delay of game penalty dumb is its similarity to icing. The only difference is the puck’s final destination. Both violations are committed when trying to get a change on a defensive shift and both disrupt offensive opportunities unfairly.

Instead of giving a penalty to a player for sending the puck over the glass, the linesman should signal a faceoff in the offensive zone and the offending team should be denied a change, just like icing. A two-minute penalty seems harsh for an act that tries to do the right thing.

2. Intent to Blow the Whistle That Disallows a Goal

Rule 31 states on the NHL website:

"As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly prior to the whistle actually being blown. The fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled that the play had been stopped prior to this happening."

This rule is special in that it is the only rule that allows a referee to openly say he made a mistake and can make a change without a replay. This rule allows him to retroactively go back and blow the play dead, even if the puck enters the net before the whistle blows.

The problem with this rule is in its execution. Once the referee blows the play dead retroactively, there is no way of overturning it.

Let’s say a referee is out of position during an offensive chance and he loses sight of the puck. He tries to get the whistle to his mouth, but puck trickles past the goal line for a goal before he can do that. The referee then waves off the goal, citing that he retroactively blown the play dead.

As the fans watch the replay, they are able to see that the puck was never secured by the goalie and the puck has a direct line to the goal. If the referee was in the correct position, he would have never blown the whistle. A replay shows there is no fishy business and the play should have remained live. A video review could solve this.

This would not be an outlandish replay result, because the referee has to make a decision of whether the whistle should have been blown or not considering the replay. The players should have played until the puck anyway, so there is no guessing what would have happened. If the puck remains visible on the replay, the ruling on the ice would be overturned. However, if the replay official loses sight of the puck with all of his available replays, the no-goal call on the ice would stand.

3. Waving Off Icing 

Judgment calls are the worst for officials. The more calls a ref has to make that are “this or that,” the easier his job is. An offside violation is plain and simple. Holding the stick doesn’t have much variation. So when a league makes a rule that forces an official to make a judgment, it can open of the door for disagreement. We want to see less disagreement.

This is why icing shouldn’t be waved off by the linesman. When a player sends the puck past the goal line from behind the red line, it should be icing every single time. There shouldn’t be a case when a ref waves it off and continues play. It’s confusing for new hockey fans and the gives the referee the authority over the rule.

When you play NHL 14 (and I am on Xbox at “LordSumms”), icing is always icing because that is the rule. Giving a judgment call to the official makes his job more difficult and it turns a rule into a suggestion.


James Summerlin is a Staff Writer at and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jdsummerlin. For the latest updates in Predator news, follow @PredlinesNSH