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New line changing procedures and rule changes

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by NHL media realtions

TORONTO (June 20, 2002) - The National Hockey League's Board of Governors today approved a new procedure for line changes and face-offs that is expected to reduce significantly the length of NHL games.

The procedure will see the puck dropped within 20 seconds of a stoppage, except during the final two minutes of a game and after goals are scored.

The following procedure will take place after a stoppage:

  • Visiting team will have five seconds to make a line change.
  • Home team will then have eight seconds to make a change.
  • The linesman will then blow his whistle and drop the puck in five seconds.
  • If The center is not at the face-off dot within the five-second allotment, then the linesman will drop the puck. However, if a player is off-side on any face-off, the linesman will issue a warning to the player and the team (coach) that any similar occurrence will result in a delay of game penalty.
  • This process will not be in effect during final two minutes of a regulation time or overtime.OTHER POINTS OF NEW LINE CHANGE/FACE-OFF PROCEDURE

  • The linesman is not obligated to wait for the center to come into the circle for the face-off if five seconds have elapsed.
  • If a center is ejected from the circle, his replacement must come into position quickly, or the puck will be dropped.
  • The puck may be dropped any time the linesman has determined all criteria have been met.
  • The integrity of the face-off will not be compromised.
  • The celebration of a goal will not be affected. A reasonable amount of time will be allowed.
  • Aspects of the new procedure were taken from the American Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League. The AHL average time of game was reduced by 14 minutes using this procedure in all games during the 2001-02 season.

    The Board also approved a series of rule changes for the 2002-03 season.

    Rule 17. Change of Players

    Goalkeepers' substitution during a game will be conducted within the same time-frame as a regular line change and no extra time will be allotted to the goalkeeper coming off the bench, except in the case where an injury to a goalkeeper occurs.

    Rule 17. Change of Players

    The premature substitution rule for players other than the goalkeeper will be removed from Rule 17, thus removing the distinction between premature substitution and too many men on the ice. The premature substitution rule will remain in effect when a goalkeeper of the team in possession of the puck, is substituted for prematurely.

    Rule 41(b). Abuse of Officials and other Misconduct

    A minor penalty will be assessed to any player who disputes or otherwise argues with an official with regard to a penalty that has been assessed to the player's teammate, as opposed to the current provision which calls for the assessment of a misconduct penalty. If the player persists in such a challenge or dispute, he shall be assessed, in addition to his minor penalty, a misconduct penalty and any further dispute will result in a game misconduct penalty.

    Rule 61. High Sticks

    The high stick rule will be amended to clarify that the point of contact on the stick will be the deciding factor when determining whether a puck was directed into the net with a high stick. Rule 93, Video Goal Judge, will be amended to include this situation.

    Rule 65. Icing the Puck

    If the puck passes through or touches any part of the goal crease, icing will be called whether the goalkeeper is in his net or at the bench.
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