We've made it, Wilderness. With a little help from our friends, and roughly a month of our time, we are at the finals. Starting with an unscientific Twitter poll, we gathered the "worst" rules in the NHL and made them face off against each other, knocking off the weaker competition as we went.
Following a typical bracket methodology, and more completely unscientific polling, we eliminated those rules fans seem to be more willing to live with than others. There has not been a rule among the competitors that does not deserve a strong look from the league and a real, thorough thought process about why the rules are what they are.
If the only answer is "because that is the rule," then things need to change.
For now, we have a contest to settle. Cast you vote below, and make your case to others in the comment section. The finals poll will run through Sunday at 3PM. We need to settle this before the deadline.
Intent to Blow, Rule 31.2:
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.
Overtime Rule 84.1
During regular-season games, if at the end of the three (3) regular twenty (20) minute periods, the score shall be tied, each team shall be awarded one point in the League standings.
The teams will then play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point.
Why do these rules suck?
Intent to Blow (from previous post):
In every major sport (other than baseball), player are trained to play until they hear the whistle. In football, you don't stop running, in soccer, you always flop to the ground when touched by an opponent, basketball you always shoot the ball... until there is a whistle.
In hockey, players play until the whistle, jam away at a puck, etc, only to be told that the ref meant to blow the whistle sooner than he actually did. This is a subjective rule, and cannot be over turned by the league. It is a ridiculous way to run a professional sport, and players never actually know when a play is over because of it.
It does however, lead to the easy joke: Whether or not they intended to blow, they did.
Intent to blow has crushed all opponents thus far in this competition. The reason is clear. Fans are tired of a rule that has so clearly cost teams games. The referees are not supposed to affect the outcome of a game. They are simply supposed to call the penalties and ensure a fair game. With a rule such as this, they have the subjective control to change the outcome of a game. That's just not acceptable.
The rule of "play to the whistle" seems so simple. It is reviewable, it is fair, and it is indisputable. Was the puck across when the whistle blew? Yes or no are the only two answers. Was the puck across the line when the referee intended to blow the whistle? How are we ever supposed to know that?
Loser Point (from previous post):
Brought in as a compromise with the NHLPA, the one point for making it to overtime was the way the NHL got their 4-on-4 overtime session. Later, the shootout would be added to game, eliminating all ties from the NHL.
The implementation of a loser point, coupled with no ties, makes for interesting happenings in the standings. The league is now the only "major" sport in which one game can be worth more than others. When a game is won in regulation, it is worth two points. When a game goes into overtime, the loser gets a point, and the winner gets two, making it worth three points. Imagine if, in Major League Baseball, a game was worth a game and a half in the standings if it went to extra innings.
Many leagues throughout the world have made each game worth three points. You get all three for a regulation win, two for an overtime win, and one for an overtime loss. All games are now worth the same amount of points, and there is incentive to win the game in regulation. The NHL? Not so much.
The end result of the loser point is what you have in the Western Conference, with there being little separation between the 4th and 12th positions. This keeps teams "in the playoff hunt" for longer periods of time, and supposedly keeps the fan bases excited. What I see it doing is annoying the hell out of the fans, and the NHL not really giving a damn.
This rule is the topic of nearly constant debate, especially this time of year. I have read several posts around the web showing that the standings change very little if the league were to use different point systems. Three points for a regulation win, two for OT win, one for OT loss. There are some changes in seeding, but most of the playoff teams are still playoff teams.
What the "new" system would do is change the way the game is played. Right now, as the third period winds down, teams hold on tight for the point. If they knew there were a bonus for winning in regulation, you don't think the game would change in those final two minutes?