Four quarters?

Archived from 1997-98 season.
The NHL's board of governors met in Vancouver during the All-Star weekend and among other things discussed various rule changes.

The league is concerned, rightfully so, about the decline in scoring and also seems to be willing to do anything to please the TV networks. That means that the league is giving serious thought to the idea of four 15-minute quarters instead of the traditional three 20-minute periods.

NHL Vice-President Brian Burke wants to see games split into four 15-minute periods, with a 12-minute halftime. Burke claims games would end 16 minutes sooner under the new format which involves a dry scrape of the ice following the first and third quarters. There would be a full flood at halftime.

"I spoke to a couple of Colorado players on the plane on the way up here and they liked the idea (of four-quarter games)," Burke said.

"One of them said he hates the 18-minute breaks (between periods). He said his equipment is wet and his bones get cold. He said he'd love to have one 12-minute break instead."

The rule change proposals to increase scoring range from eliminating the red line and thus virtually all two-line passes to moving the nets futher away from the endboards (to cut down on goalie stick-handling) to prohibiting the goalie from handling the puck at all.

The league is going to experiment with some of the proposed changes in IHL and AHL games in March.

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