BOCA RATON, Fla. -- A recommendation to change the rules governing faceoffs to create a better opportunity for increased puck-possession time, which could lead to more goals, was made Wednesday by NHL general managers on the final day of their annual March meeting here.
The GMs will recommend to the NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee that the player who is on the defensive side of the red line must be the first to place his stick on the ice before the puck is dropped. In doing so, that player is at a slight disadvantage to the attacking player, who can put his stick down second.
The current rule (76.4) requires the player on the visiting team to put his stick down first in all zones, including at the center-ice faceoff dot. The visiting player still would be required to put his stick down first on faceoffs taken at center ice, according to the recommendation. But in all other faceoffs the player closest to his own goalie would have to declare first.
The rule change can't become official unless it passes through the Competition Committee and the NHL Players’ Association Executive Board, and is ratified by NHL Board of Governors. The Competition Committee, NHLPA Executive Board and the Board of Governors each meet in June.
"As a former centerman you always feel you have a little more of an advantage if you can get in there second," Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. "To try and help the offense, why not try it? I think it's a good idea."