New rules for next season

Archived from 1998-99 season.

NHL teams

The NHL Board of Governors approved a bunch of new rules for 1998-99 season in a day-long meeting at Toronto before the award banquet on Thursday.

The biggest changes are the moving of the net two feet from the boards and shrinking of the goal crease. The new goal line will be 13 feet from the end boards.

"I just don't think it will work," Hasek said of the new goal line. "I don't think it will increase scoring. You can't score from behind the net. I know because I played in Europe. Wayne Gretzky can spend one minute behind the goal line, but he can't score from there."

NHL general managers and governors believe that changes will allow skilled players more room to work and make it more daring for goalies to go behind the net to stop dump-ins. The changes spawn from the same philosophy of need to increase scoring as last season's more stricter calling of obstruction penalties.

Other changes approved:

  • Shaving off the "wings" on the goal crease that stretch out beyond the goal posts in order to cut down on goals disallowed because of crease infractions.
  • Giving the video goal judge the power to call down to the referee when a crease infringement is spotted. The referee will retain the right to over-rule if he feels the player was pushed into the crease.
  • Experimenting with using two referees (as well as the two linesmen) for between 10 and 20 games per team, which governors hope will cut down on infractions and injuries. Each team will play an equal number of games, home and away, with two refs. Each referee is responsible for one end of the ice.
  • If goaltenders fake playing the puck on a potential icing in order to throw off an opponent, the icing will be waived off.
  • If a player cheats by jumping on the ice early on a line change, play is stopped with the face-off at center ice. An unintentional illegal substitution will still be called as too many men on the ice.
  • A player who leaves the bench and joins an altercation will no longer be automatically suspended, but the case will be reviewed by the league.
  • Stricter suspensions are to be handed out in cases where a player suffers a head injury due to a stick or elbow infraction.
The league will also experiment with eliminating the red line for two-line offsides during the preseason and will "work towards implementing goalie equipment standards for the 1998-99 season." Among pieces of equipment the league hopes to limit are catching gloves and jerseys.

The board also approved three sales: the Tampa Bay Lightning to Arthur L. Williams; the Buffalo Sabres to the Rigas family; and a minority interest in the New York Islanders to New York Sports Venture, LLC.

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