If you were expecting wholesale changes from the NHL’s Competition Committee, brace yourself.  You’re going to be quite disappointed.

After meeting this past weekend in Nashville, the committee has recommended two minor changes for the upcoming season.


No Timeouts After Icing

The first removes the coach’s ability to take a timeout after an icing.

Rule 87 Time-outs: The Committee recommends a change so that no time-out shall be granted following an icing for the team that committed the icing infraction.

The NHL is following the AHL and ECHL’s lead, with both leagues already enacting this rule for the 2016-17 season. This recommendation comes as no surprise.  The NHL General Managers already agreed to the rule in principle earlier this year.

“The discussion really was a genesis of when the timeout came into play,” Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff told ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun. “The thought process was it was a strategic timeout, at the end of a game, trying to increase the goal scoring or heighten the dramatic effect there. Over time it morphed into using it as a way to rest.”

Commissioner Gary Bettman agreed.

“The notion was if you ice the puck there should be a consequence to it — having players who aren’t rested,” said Bettman, back in March. “Taking the decision out of the coach’s hands as to whether or not to use the timeout, which could impact the coach’s challenge or in-game strategy, I think the managers as a group thought that would be a good change.”

Faceoff Location After a High Stick on the Power Play

The second is a minor tweak to the faceoff location after the team on the power play hits the puck with a high stick in the offensive zone. The current rule requires a faceoff back in the defensive zone.

Rule 80.4: The Committee recommends a change so that when a team has a power-play and a player on the team at full strength causes a stoppage of play as the result of striking the puck with a high stick in the offensive zone, the resulting face-off shall be made in the neutral zone on the nearest face-off spot.

This makes the rule consistent with the how the face-off is addressed when there is a stoppage under the same circumstances when both teams are at full strength.


That’s it.  Nothing about reviews, penalty enforcement, revisions to offsides, or any other rule changes.

From the NHLPA:

The Committee reviewed and discussed many aspects of the rules and how the game is played and was satisfied that no additional changes would be necessary or appropriate at this time.

Though the Competition Committee made no further rule change recommendations – including slashing, which many believed would be up for discussion – the league can still take a look during the offseason at how the current rule is enforced.

From here, the recommendations go for final approval in front of the NHLPA’s Executive Board and the NHL’s Board of Governors.

The NHL’s Competition Committee, created in 2005, includes players, managers, and coaches.  Players currently taking part are David Backes (BOS), Mike Cammalleri (NJD), Cory Schnieder (NJD), and Daniel Winnik (WSH). General Managers Peter Chiarelli (EDM), Jim Nill (DAL), David Poile (NSH), and Doug Wilson (SJS) also took part. Coaches Ken Hitchcock (DAL) and Barry Trotz (WSH) joined the discussion as non-voting members.