Toronto Maple Leafs: Rule Changes the NHL Should Make

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29: Pierre Engvall #47 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29: Pierre Engvall #47 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t played since the middle of March.

One way to positively spin this fact, would be to say that the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t lost a game in a month in a half.

With a lack of Leafs news to discuss, I thought we could look at the game a bit more broadly.

Specifically, rule changes.

The NHL makes more rule changes than any sport there is, and I for one think that’s a good thing.  Tradition is often just a stubborn adherence to the way things use to be, and hockey’s willingness to adapt is a very positive thing.

Rule Changes the NHL Should Make

  1.  Ban Fighting 

Fighting isn’t just stupid, its dangerous.  How the NHL can allow players to participate in bare knuckle boxing (on ice!) is beyond the realm of comprehension.

Not only does it have zero effect in policing the game (if anything, the game was dirtier in the past) but knowing what we know about CTE and the lives enforcers live after their careers are over, it’s morally reprehensible to allow players to fight.

    2.  Ban Video Replay 

Video replay slows down the game, and often turns a celebration into a sheepish slow-walk back to the ice.

We should all just accept that referees are human and that mistakes will occasionally occur.  As long as the games have integrity, the calls that go against you will even out over time.

The quest for perfection is as ridiculous as it is futile.

   3.  Call the Game Properly 

If you ever get the chance, watch a game of hockey with someone who doesn’t usually watch or like hockey, and as them to tell you when they think there should be a penalty.

My wife was recently confused when I tried to tell here that the first seven cross-checks to the neck didn’t warrant a penalty – it was the eight one that went too far!

The NHL needs to do a better job of defining what is and what isn’t a penalty.  Then they need to call all of them, and they need to be disciplined enough to stick with it until players adjust.

4. End the Even-Up Call

It’s common practice in the NHL to alternate between which team gets a penalty.  Look at any season’s penalty statistics and you’ll see a weird correlation between which team takes the most penalties and which team gets the most power-plays.

There shouldn’t be a correlation but there is.

Teams that play clean games are rewarded by having referees ignore infractions against them. (Obviously I’m bias as this applies directly to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it’s still the right way to do it).

This stems from a league-wide logical fallacy.  Basically, the league thinks that if they call too many penalties, they are deciding the game, instead of the players.

But this is an embarrassing breakdown in basic logic.  When one team getes a bunch more powerplays than the other, it isn’t the referee deciding the game by enforcing the rules, it’s the players deciding it by not following the rules.

Next. 5 Possibilities to Replace Freddie Andersen. dark

If the NHL adopted these rules, then the game would be safer, more fair, and more exciting to watch.