clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NHL's Worst Rule Contest: Loser Point vs Touch Icing

If it had been this guy, rather than Kurtis Foster, would the rule be changed already?
If it had been this guy, rather than Kurtis Foster, would the rule be changed already?

We're getting down there now, folks. The second of the two semi-final match-ups is upon us. In the other bracket, Intent to Blow has had its way with all comers. It will interesting to see if either of these rules can take it down. However, this isn't about me, this is about the rules, and which you feel the NHL should change immediately.

Whether it be illogical reasoning, traditionalistic and antiquated thinking, or just plain stubbornness, the NHL refuses to even look at these rules, let alone change them. The catalyst for change is unknown. Injury hasn't done it. Blown calls that change the course of a game, and likely a playoff race, haven't done it. It may take extreme events before the league acts, and fans everywhere wonder why.

The Rules:

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.

Icing Rule 81.1

For the purpose of interpretation of the rule, "icing the puck" is completed the instant the puck is touched first by a defending player (other than the goalkeeper) after it has crossed the goal line and if in the action of so touching the puck, it is knocked or deflected into the net, it is no goal.

Any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not for eliminating the opponent from playing the puck. Unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player

That penalty is described here:

Boarding Rule 41.1

Any unnecessary contact with a player playing the puck on an obvious "icing" or "off-side" play which results in that player being knocked into the boards is "boarding" and must be penalized as such. In other instances where there is no contact with the boards, it should be treated as "charging.

Why do these rules suck?

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 will never change. Ever. The NHL loves that teams are "in contention," and if so many teams in the East weren't quite so terrible, the NHL would beat its chest and claim to have created parity with the salary cap. Truth is, the parity is there... just so long as you only want one point. Almost any team in the West can take any other to overtime. Actually beat them? That's another story.

Touch Icing:

(From post) Two words: Kurtis Foster. The NHL is the only league in the world that continues to use touch up icing, and no one in the league nor PA can explain why. Just because it is the way it has always been done does not mean it is the way it should continue being done. Ask the NHL about the forward pass, the two line pass, and the rover position.

Can anyone tell me why this rule needs to be in place? I'm being serious here. Has anyone seen a goal scored from a defeated icing call? I just cannot even wrap my head around the rule, or why a hybrid rule could not improve the game, and the safety of the players. That is one of the main reasons this rule is so stupid. No one can justify not changing it. Just get it done already.

Your turn, Wilderness. Make your case in the comments, and cast your vote.