Rules Changes ’14

Tip of cap to Jason Iacona, who caught that the new rule book has made its appearance. Here are the changes I caught in a side-by-side comparison:

–Diagrams: The AHL’s regulation net, like the NHL’s, is four inches shallower.

–Rule 9.6 is now “Helmets,” broken out from 9.5 (protective equipment) into its own section. Helmets and visors must now be worn during warmup. Because of that section addition, the paragraph that used to end the bigger 9.5 (referee required to instruct players to replace or non-spec equipment, with progressive penalties for repeat violations) is moved up to the new 9.5. So “dangerous equipment” is now 9.7 instead of 9.6.

9.5 is the rule under which NHL players have been penalized for tucking their sweater under their pads. The AHL’s enforcement standard should match the NHL’s.

–11.2: Shortened leg pads for goalies, with initial clearinghouse checks and spot checks.

–46.6: Helmets, in fighting: Removing one’s helmet before a fight results in a two-minute unsportsmanlike minor.
That addition moves every other section number up one.
–46.11: Instigator: completely redrawn. Criteria now include: “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.”

–Rule 48: Changes along the lines of the NHL; Elliotte Friedman did an extensive bit on it earlier this month.

–79.5: Last year’s video-replay rule said the referee “shall not consult with the goal judge”; now it says he “shall not be required to consult with the goal judge.” It has always been the referee’s final decision, anyway.

–82.1: Restores touch-up icing. Last year’s rulebook had the hybrid rule (a no-touch whistle when the players reached the dots if it wasn’t clear the attacking player would touch the puck first), which the AHL used during the lockout. The NHL (and AHL, not that we’d know around here) has tried out hybrid icing in the preseason this year but hasn’t made a final decision whether to use it. Presumably the AHL will use whatever the NHL uses.
–82.5: Removes the “receivable pass” exception; those missed-connections will again be called icing.

Michael Fornabaio