Boston Bruins: New Rules for the New Season.


May 3, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman

P.K. Subban

(76) checks Boston Bruins left wing

Brad Marchand

(63) along the boards during the first period in game two of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The National Hockey League has changed up several of its existing rules for the 2014-15 season. While some of them won’t cause any serious shifts (like the expansion of the trapezoid of the goaltender), several of them could have an impact on how the Boston Bruins play throughout the season.

Face-off rules got a face lift. The rule change was implemented to stop the delay of game from ‘tired’ players trying to stretch out a face-off. So now when the defending player who is in the face-off attempts to delay the game, that player will be given a warning, and will have to remain in the face-off circle. If that team is called for a second face-off violation in the circle, it will cost that team a two minute bench penalty.

We have some of the best face-off players in the league  Patrice Bergeron just happens to be the best at it). Some teams will be hurt by this change, but the Bruins should be just fine (as long as they keep themselves out of severe penalty trouble).

The penalties for diving and embellishment have been increased (but overall, the maximum penalty isn’t that severe).  Rule 64.3 (Diving/Embellishment) has been changed to go after those players (and eventually their coaches) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Bruins fans would call this the ‘Subban rule’.  Canadiens fans would call it the ‘Marchand rule’. I’m curious to see how they’ll actually call this on the ice. Will the league announce their fines in an open season as a way to shame the repeat offenders in order to get them into line?

The players will be fined after the second offense of the season, and the coaches will be fined after the player’s fourth offense. It will certainly make things interesting in the locker room. This is one of those rules I expect the NHLPA to have issue with the next time a collective bargaining agreement comes up for discussion.

The Bruins will be playing the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on October 16th. By that time, the league will likely have come down on at least a few players (Brad Marchand and P.K. Subban could be among them) for diving and/or trying too hard to sell a penalty. So, I wouldn’t expect that much diving from either of them.

While we’re on the subject of dirty pool on the ice, the NHL have expanded what constitutes an illegal move. Penalties for butt-ending, charging, clipping, elbowing, head-butting interference, and kneeing move from a general penalty to a physical penalty (boarding and checking from behind).  If a player puts up two of these game misconducts in a game will now be automatically suspended for one game. (We could call this one the ‘Matt Cooke’ rule.)

The tripping a player to save a goal penalty got reworded as well. We will see an increased number of penalty shots for players who have a breakaway but get tripped up by a defending team member before getting to the goal.  This means Bruins fans will be treated to more surprisingly great penalty shots like Shawn Thornton‘s (just without Thorty shooting them for us.)

Overtime got a makeover as well. Now, the teams will need to switch sides before four-on-four play begins. Also, the ice will get a dry scrape before the start of the period. The cleaner ice will certainly make game play better. Finally, the teams will no longer need to submit the names of their first three shooters when it comes to a shootout.

A few of you were hoping to see the end of the shootout all-together, but it will be staying around for the time being. On that note, the old spin-o-rama play used by a few players in the shootout has now gone the way of the dinosaur. (The IIHF had banned the move earlier this year.) So, we’ll see less Kaspars Daugavins moves and more Patrick Kane skill shots. We’ll see how these new rules impact the Bruins when they start the season in October.