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NHL nears potential rule changes

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

The big news in the NHL on Tuesday was steps taken by the NHLPA to bring the league closer to mandatory visors along with a handful of other changes. The rule changes are awaiting NHL Board of Governor and NHLPA Executive Board approval.

The visor rule would come into effect in 2013-14, if approved.

From the NHLPA...

Under the proposal, players who have played less than 25 NHL regular season or playoff games in their career by the end of the 2012-13 season, would be required to wear a visor. If given the green light by the NHLPA Executive Board and the NHL Board of Governors, the grandfather visor rule would come into effect for the start of the 2013-14 NHL season. The full NHLPA/NHL Competition Committee have agreed to meet next week to develop the transition rules regarding visor use.

The visor issue was just one of a multitude of player safety, rule and equipment issues that were discussed by the Committee at the NHL offices in downtown Toronto. The players have also agreed to test hybrid icing and shallower nets during the 2013-14 pre-season, as well as implementing the use of video replay when four-minute high sticking penalties are called, beginning with next season.

The Sens would have a handful of players faced with a decision to make regarding their choice of whether or not to wear a visor. Matt Kassian, Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Marc Methot all play without a face shield. A safe bet would be that they don’t make the switch, but the option will be more on the table come the fall if this rule change holds.

Other switches on the table include the hybrid icing rule, which has been discussed for a few years in GM meetings and was deployed in the AHL this season until mid-January. The hope is a switch to the hybrid rule will cut down on injuries that occur during races to the puck.

A potential switch to shallower nets after a test period would allow more space behind the goal to make plays, while the rule which allows a linesman to determine what passes are attainable to wipe out an icing is also going to be potentially removed. Double-minor high sticking penalties would be subject to replay.

In addition to these switches, a committee would be formed to discuss additional equipment changes such as goaltenders pads

The above video features Mathieu Schneider of the NHLPA and Colin Campbell of the NHL.

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