NHL GMs mull tweaks to rules at meeting

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) NHL general managers may be nearing recommendations on rule changes but believe there is little need for significant action.

By Wednesday – the third and final day of the meetings – a number of proposals could be sent to the competition committee for consideration.

”We’re looking at tweaking it wherever possible to make it better,” Ken Holland, the Detroit general manager, said Tuesday. ”But I think at the end of the day, those are tweaks.

”It’s a fast, exciting game, and I think that there’s tons of positives about our game. That’s why there’s nothing major coming out of there.”

Two key items might concern rules regarding overtime and the face-off.

”The group recommended some changes to face-off procedure and potentially instead of ejecting for a violation of face-off procedure maybe penalizing in terms of making the center man take a step back,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley said. ”That was certainly something that was discussed.”

The overtime rule might see each team switch ends of the ice necessitating longer line changes.

The suggestion of teams going 3-on-3 rather than 4-on-4 for overtime had little traction. A possible tweak could result in the ice being manually cleaned before overtime. As of now, the ice is not treated after the third period.

”Certainly everybody’s on board with the long change,” Holland said. ”We’re going to have the long change. We are going to explore over the next three or four months the ice whether we shovel. I think for the most part we’re going to do the long change and see if we can get a little bit better ice.”

Also discussed was a clarification of the kicked-in goal rule – when a puck is sent into the net off a skate with a kicking motion.

But the resounding message the past two days was that most participants believe the game is in need of little repair.

”I think the consensus of my group is that it seems like the game is in pretty good shape and we should go slowly if we’re going to look at changes,” said Brian Burke, the Calgary general manager.