Along with the announcement of the division change today the AHL announced a few changes to the rules, and a “test” variation of a rule we currently know and (sometimes) love!
12-13 - Rule 67.2 (“Handling the Puck”) now calls for a minor penalty “any time a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck”.
11-12 - 67.2 Minor Penalty – Player - A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for “closing his hand on the puck”. A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who, while play is in progress, picks up the puck off the ice with his hand.
It seems they altered the wording for this rule to make it a little easier to assess what they meant, but I’m not entirely sure if they’re going to include the “catches it and skates with it” aspect from last season’s rule book. I do like that they specifically included when it is on the ice, after seeing it happen at least once last season, but it doesn’t make a huge deal of a difference
12-13 - Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”) states that “both players facing off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off.” Violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty for delay of game.
I personally do not agree/like this rule whatsoever. Sure, count it as a face off violation and throw a different player in the face-off, but a minor penalty? I could possibly see that being determined as a penalty after a player commits it more than once in a specific time frame, possibly being the key word there. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen players do this a few times, and I just considered it a part of the face off battle. There’s nothing like this rule in the NHL rule book either, so there may be a possibility of the NHL requesting to “test” this rule in the AHL like they sometimes do before phasing it into the big leagues. But I’m sure we may see our fair share of delay of game penalties resulting from this new addition.
• The Board has also approved a test of a variation on Rule 81 (“Icing”) at the request of the National Hockey League, that will, in the event of a potential icing violation, complete the play should a defending player be the first to reach the end zone face-off dots and provided the puck has crossed the goal line at that point. This rule will be in effect until Nov. 19, 2012, at which time its continued use will be determined by the Board. This was the only rules test approved.
If you don’t already know what exactly icing entails, you can read more about it under rule 81 in the AHL rule book. I’m going to go ahead and assume that this is the NHL’s way of phasing in the no-touch icing that many leagues are now adopting. Considering how many injuries can occur from players racing after the puck to eliminate an icing call, or to swing the call in their favor, I love this rule. I’m a huge advocator of the way some leagues have began using no-touch icing rules.
Not many rule changes this summer, and no big changes by any means. I do believe there are a few rules that deserve some tweaks to them(delay of game is a big one there) but for now, we’ll have to take what hockey news we can get and wait patiently(ha) for the schedule to be released later this summer. In the end, player safety should be the number one concern, especially with the growing numbers of known/reported concussions steadily rising…but that’s a post for another day.