We asked ... you responded. Below are a few of the hundreds of responses we received regarding the rules differences between the NHL game and international competition that we watched in Salt Lake City. We thank all fans for their comments and insight.
Which of the international rules that were a part of the Olympic Games would you like to see incorporated into the NHL and why?
I believe that by taking away the red line and allowing two-line passes the game will be sped up. With the forwards now having the ability to take a longer pass it will force the defensemen to back up and it will spread out the ice. Players will have more room to skate, the play will be much quicker, and it will be very exciting to watch. I also think that the NHL should move the nets closer to the boards like they used to be. The reasoning behind the nets being moved closer to the blueline was to give players more room to skate behind the net and they thought that that would speed up the game. However, defensemen learned how to guard this and the puck ended up staying behind the net way too often. If the nets are moved back to where they were - closer to the boards - then it will also create more room on the ice. More room in turn creates more speed which makes for a more exciting game to watch.
Dan, New York, New York __________________________
Here's what I'd like to see in the NHL after watching the great Olympic games: 1) Quicker face-offs. If not 15 seconds, then 20. I understand it would be tough to get TV timeouts in, but it still could be done. There's way too much wasted time in between whistles and this would help force quicker line changes.
2) Automatic icing. A total waste of time to have to go back and touch it up.
3) Automatic ejections for fighting and suspensions for the following game. I understand that the league has to police itself with all the enforcers on every team but all the stoppages for fights and scuffles is getting a little crazy.
4) A lot less clutching and grabbing, probably somewhat eliminated in the International game by the larger ice surface. But, the NHL could do a lot more to call penalties for it.
5) More room behind the net rather than on the sides, but that's just me.
6) Eliminating the red line would be good, but it wouldn't prevent guys like Bure, Jagr, Kovalev, etc. from hanging around the other team's blue line waiting for that long pass. It could, in turn, make for a more boring game as teams try to counter act that by playing a much more defensive style.
Brian - Smithtown, New York
I loved the two line passes. The NHL has to do something to increase scoring chances and give the playmakers more of a chance. Please, Mr. Bettman, don't just assume it's because 120 of the best players were on the ice in Salt Lake that those games were better. It's also because the rules (and bigger ice surface) allowed for more skating, puck handling, and shooting. It's just plain a better brand of hockey. I love the NHL, but it's getting a bit dull these days. Let's open it up a bit, eh?
Troy - a Blueshirt fan from Minnesota
The Olympic tournament has shown what beautiful play the NHL is missing because its rinks are smaller than European rinks and the NHL rules do not allow two-line passes. It has been a thrill to watch most of the games in the Olympics. If the NHL could open up the game by making the rinks bigger and allowing two-line passes, it would seem like they would make up for any revenue losses caused by knocking out seating, because more fans would be willing to pay to watch such exciting games.The 15-second rule seems like it would not work because there has to be enough time for advertising.
Peter Brevett - New York, New York
I think that opening up the ice, by taking away the red line, will make the game more enjoyable to watch. This is the most important rule to change and will increase scoring. Other rules like a whistle when the puck is iced would be nice and 15 seconds till each face-off would be great. But the TV networks are still going to need TV time outs. So for now, lets change the two line pass rule to eliminate the red line.
Brian Davey - Manchester, New Hampshire
Although a Rangers fan for many years, I found the Olympic version of hockey very exciting for two reasons. The first is the 15-second rule at the face-offs. Although the refs didn't always drop the puck that quickly, I thought it added some extra excitement to the match. The second point is the lack of fighting. I know that's not a popular viewpoint but I don't watch hockey for the fights.
Tim Brosnan - Metuchen, New Jersey
There are several elements of the Olympic format that are appealing. The larger ice surface is one that wouldn't be practical in the NHL. However, elimination of the red line would be easy to implement. It would greatly reduce the use of the trap, which would immediately make NHL games faster and more exciting.
Bill Hall - Wayne, New Jersey
I have been a fan of the NHL, particularly the Rangers, since I was 11. I have always enjoyed the sport for its speed and passion. This Olympic year I had the opportunity to watch every game and after having witnessed the speed and passion that every player on every team played with in every single game, I realized what the NHL has been lacking in recent years. The larger ice surface added to the enjoyment and (while I'm sure the players don't like it) allowing 15 seconds for players to get on the ice and having no tv timeouts allowed the game to move at a faster pace, bringing back the reason why fans love the sport.
Diana - Ossining, New York __________________________
I believe that the NHL should adopt some of the International rules such as the 15-second face-off rule to increase the consistency of play. The players would be able to function more effectively and would be able to keep the flow of play moving.
I would also like to see an end to the commercial TV time outs as well. They waste a lot of time, and I wouldnt mind missing a play or two to keep the game moving.
Also, abolishing the red line rule would increase the intensity of the plays. I personally enjoyed the Olympic games for their rules as well as the size of the playing surface.
Rich Grimek - West Linn, Oregon
I liked the wider ice surface employed at the Olympics. I think it gave the skilled players more opportunity to showcase their talents, and opened up the game. The clutching and grabbing that goes on in the NHL, and the smaller ice surface, slow the game down too much. The end-to-end action that the wider ice surface allowed made for a much more enjoyable hockey experience. I think Theo Fleury would agree.