Colorado Avalanche: Weighing in on Which NHL Rule Should be Eliminated

DENVER, CO - MARCH 23: Referee Brad Watson #23 skates in the final game of his 23-year NHL career at the Pepsi Center on March 23, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 23: Referee Brad Watson #23 skates in the final game of his 23-year NHL career at the Pepsi Center on March 23, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche, as have every NHL team (except the Sharks), have been victimized by some wonky NHL rules. There are one or two that should be eliminated.

The Colorado Avalanche have been the victims of bady-applied rules on numerous occasions. I suppose they’ve also been the beneficiaries of the same, but it feels like that scenario happens less frequently.

Sometimes, it’s not even that the rule has to be badly applied — some rules are just bad.

Well, recently the Hockey News polled hockey fans about which rule they’d like to see eliminated:

Fans loved weighing in on this topic. Apparently the Colorado Avalanche aren’t the only team that have been burned by various rules and their application.

A popular nominee for elimination is the delay of game penalty for flipping the puck over the glass. Here’s how the rule reads:

"When any player or goalkeeper, while in his defending zone, shoots the puck directly (non-deflected) out of the playing surface, except where there is no glass, a penalty shall be assessed for delaying the game. When the puck is shot into the players’ bench, the penalty will not apply. When the puck is shot over the glass “behind” the players’ bench, the penalty shall be assessed."

So, essentially, whenever a player shoots the puck directly over the glass from the defensive zone, the team gets the delay of game penalty. We’ve all see our teams do it every few games or so, and it’s such a buzzkill.

Well, as with most rules, this one arose from players abusing the play. They used to deliberately shoot the puck over the glass when they were defending a tight game late in the third period. Action would be getting exciting, and, bam, the puck would go sailing over the glass.

Deliberately shooting the puck into the crowd can be dangerous for fans, too.

Another contender for elimination is the goalie trapezoid. This one isn’t called as often since it was implemented in 2005 and goalies have since adjusted their game accordingly. However, here’s how the rule reads:

"A goalkeeper shall not play the puck outside of the designated area behind the net. This area shall be defined by lines that begin six feet (6’) from either goal post and extend diagonally to points twenty-eight feet (28’) apart at the end boards. Should the goalkeeper play the puck outside of the designated area behind the goal line, a minor penalty for delay of game shall be imposed. The determining factor shall be the position of the puck. The minor penalty will not be assessed when a goalkeeper plays the puck while maintaining skate contact with his goal crease."

This rule came about because of a specific player, Martin Brodeur. He was a master at puck handling behind the goal line. So, they restricted goalies only to the trapezoid directly behind the net.

Another rule that got a lot of votes for elimination was the instigator penalty. Fighting isn’t as common in the NHL as it used to be, and there certainly aren’t the enforcers of yesteryear. However, instigator penalties still get assessed.

Here’s how the rule reads:

"An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season."

What’s more, if a player instigates a fight in the final five minutes of the game, he’ll “be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension.”

Harsh. However, the Colorado Avalanche suffered the loss of a promising young player, Steve Moore, whose career was ended by an instigator, Todd Bertuzzi. So, I can’t agree that rule needs to go.

I’d like to see more fighting return to the NHL, though.

By far, though, the rule most fans want to see eliminated is the offside review call, or the Coach’s Challenge.

The offside rule itself is simple enough:

"“Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone.”"

You don’t want players just hanging around the goalie, waiting for a temmate to cherry-pick him the puck.

The Coach’s Challenge as related to the offside rule also isn’t too onerous:

"The video review mechanism triggered by the Coach’s Challenge is intended to be extremely narrow in scope and the original call on the ice is to be overturned if, and only if, a determination is made that the original call on the ice was not correct. If a review is not conclusive and/or there is any doubt whatsoever as to whether the call on the ice was correct, the original call on the ice will be confirmed."

This rule is unofficially the Matt Duchene rule:

More from Mile High Sticking

Yes, he was offside. He was seriously offside. He was, like, a mile offside when he got the puck and scored his goal for the Colorado Avalanche. And the Nashville Predators could do nothing about it because there was no Coach’s Challenge.

So, one time out of, what, a million goals in the history of the NHL, a player was ridiculously offside before he scored, and the opposing team couldn’t challenge. And now all NHL fans in existence must suffer.

Because this rule is one that’s horribly mis-applied. It was meant to prevent another Duchene-like goal. Instead, teams employ watchers whose only job is to watch the blueline to determine if an opponent MAY have been the tiniest bit offside so they can radio down to the coach to challenge any resultant goals.

At which time the officials and even the War Room in Toronto take the play down to the molecular level to see if in any possible dimension said player could have failed to leave a toenail on the blueline while the puck was still ambling across the same line.

The worst, absolute worst, historically worst application of the rule and the challenge was the one that allowed Gabriel Landeskog to be offside while he was trying to get off the ice — yet there weren’t too many men on the ice.

What in the actual puck? Yeah, the too many men rule reads, “Players may be within the five-foot limit of the players bench,” blah-blah-blah. How can Landeskog have an impact on the play yet not be one too many men on the ice?

So, obviously, this rule gets my vote for elimination. No more Coach’s Challenge for offside since the rule is being abused. Let the on-ice officials or even an official in the sky call for an offside challenge. And the review must be in real time — no more squinting at pixelated blowups of the nanoseconds leading up to the puck crossing the blueline.

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What do you think, Colorado Avalanche fans? Which NHL rule would you like to see eliminated?