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NHL general managers recommend some minor changes

NHLLos Angeles KingsDarryl Sutter

NHL general managers, meeting Tuesday in Florida, agreed to formally recommend three minor changes to the league’s competition committee for consideration at its next meeting, in June.

Although the general managers couldn’t reach agreement on changing the length or general format of regular-season overtime — or on expanding the use of video replay — they decided to recommend three tweaks to existing rules.

First, they will recommend that the hash marks on the faceoff circle be separated by two more feet, or from three feet to five feet, to create more separation between players on the wings. They also will recommend changing the procedure for a faceoff violation. Instead of throwing a player out of the faceoff circle if he commits a foul on the draw, that player will have to move back 12 to 18 inches. The exact distance hasn't been decided.

They are also expected to endorse the idea of teams switching ends for overtime, creating the longer-distance change that teams face in the second period. The idea is that the need to skate farther  to get back to the bench will lead to more mistakes and more scoring chances, which it is hoped will lead to more games being resolved before they reach the shootout.

Also under consideration by the general managers is a proposal to clean the ice before overtime. They’re scheduled to meet again on Wednesday.

“The big takeaway from this meeting is I think the managers are really happy with where the game is right now, but to the extent there are tweaks that need Board of Governors' approval, hopefully we'll be in a position to present it to the board in June for those tweaks,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the league’s website, nhl.com.

Here’s a link to the full story.

Discussions on whether to expand video review and add a coach’s challenge are sure to continue. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter had his own unique take on the coach’s challenge concept, when asked by Times reporter Lisa Dillman.

“Throw shoes. Throw sticks. Throw water bottles…. Just say somebody from behind threw it,” he said. “You would have to tighten that up. There are coaches or coaching staffs that would use it every game.”

But would the use of challenges slow down the pace too much?

“We have the commercial timeouts now … the best way is to have a monitor in the box,” he said. “In today’s world … there will be advancement in technology, for sure. That’s clear. Not sure it’s got to be a challenge. We have a war room in Toronto and put a lot on the officials. At the same time, there’s a lot of instruction from Toronto. I’m sure that they can get thumbs up, thumbs down. They can do that in a second of face time.

“You’re not slowing the game down. You’re not watching the game enough if you think it’s slowing down. The game is still played in less time than it was 10 years ago.”

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