Oh, you want to increase scoring? Here’s an idea; 60 minutes of icing. No matter what the scenario the icing rule stays in effect. If you take a penalty, no longer does going to the sin bin come with the benefit of icing the puck freely.
It’s an idea that sounds weird at first, but it’s been thrown around a few times over the past few years. Most recently it sparked my interest when I read it quickly in the latest issue of The Hockey News, so I thought I would expand on why I think switching the rule up could be a good thing for the game.
First off, it’s just logical, if a team is being punished for an infraction why are they also given the advantage of being able to ice the puck? If a team commits and infraction, they should have to actually play shorthanded.
Also, is the NHL not the league that’s been trying to increase scoring? Well, one really simple way to do that is to increase power play scoring. Last year, the average power play percentage was 19.1%. Just for argument’s sake, let’s just say that would increase a flat 10% across all teams even though that number may be low for some teams and may be high for others. It’s impossible to tell when you’re dealing with a hypothetical.
If every team’s PP% were to increase by 10%, these would be their new power-play goal totals:
Again, it’s an extremely rough guess on how this would affect things, but you can see that there would likely a rather significant increase in scoring whether that would be 5%, 10% or more. You don’t want to upset traditionalists, but you want to make the game more exciting. I feel like making this one minor change, could have a real positive effect on the sport.
Simply put, there’s no simpler way to increase scoring than to just make easier for teams to score on the powerplay.
Not only would this rule change make it more difficult for teams to get the puck out of their zone, but it would create more odd-man rushes for both the team with the man advantage and the team killing the penalty.
If teams are forced to try and actually play the game while killing a penalty, they might start to get greedy and before you know it, the play could be flipping back into their own end. The flip side of that is, one would think that the team on the powerplay would be more aggressive in trying to keep the puck in their own end. One bad move could create a shorthanded breakaway or 2 on 1 for the killing team.
The other reason I’m for this change: powerplays are exciting! Fans get to watch the most skilled players on their team get 2 minutes of offensive zone time. Whether your team in on the powerplay or killing one in a crucial time, you’re always on the edge of your seat! So why not raise the pressure a little more? Who wouldn’t want to make it easier for Connor McDavid to make magic in the offensive zone? Or for the Winnipeg Jets to set up Patrik Laine at the top of the circle? It just improves the game from a fan perspective.
The flip side of the coin is it gives teams with actual skilled penalty killers an advantage. No more watching fourth line plug just lay down and get in the way of everything. We’d get to see more of the league’s best players in different scenarios.
This also plays to my previous point of generating more odd-man rushes. If players like McDavid, Crosby, Eichel, and Matthews were freed from the shackles of having to ice the puck on penalty kills, you’d have to think they could generate some shorthanded offense.
Think of the different strategies as well. Would coaches instruct their PK units to try softy lift the puck out of the zone in an attempt to avoid icings while still getting the puck out? Or, could we see the creation of the “reverse icing”, where maybe once you gain the opposing team’s zone you simply fire the puck all the way back to your own goalie to kill time. Risky, but could work
The possibilities are endless, it would make the game more exciting and it just makes sense… which is why I’m 100% confident we will never see it in the NHL.