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NHL RULE CHANGES
NHL COMPETITION COMMITTEE
Last Update: Aug 10, 2009
Major Rule Changes
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2008-09 Changes
The first change will be for Rule 76.2 on faceoffs, placing the first faceoff of a power play in the defending zone of the team that committed the foul.

Second, a change to Rule 81.1 on icing will state that, "Any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not for eliminating the opponent from playing the puck. Unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player."

The last change will be to Rule 85.5 on faceoff location, declaring that if a puck is shot off the goal frame, goal post or crossbar, the subsequent faceoff will remain in the end zone where the puck went out of play.

2007-08 Changes
A number of minor rule changes were introduced for the start of the 2007-08 season. Penalty shots can now be awarded when a player with the puck is hauled down from the centre line on in rather than from the opposition's blue-line as previously was the case. Also, the interference rule was altered to allow for a major penalty and a game misconduct when an injury results. Another change affected faceoff placement: All faceoffs must be conducted at one of the nine dots painted on the rink.

2004-05 Changes
Rink Dimensions
The neutral-zone edges of the blue lines will be positioned 64 feet from the attacking goal line and 75 feet from the end boards in the attacking zone. The addition of four feet in each of the offensive zones should encourage more offensive play, particularly on power-plays.
The goal lines will be positioned 11 feet from the end boards, two feet closer to the end boards than previously.
The size of the neutral zone will be reduced to 50' from 54'.
The blue lines and center line will remain at 12 inches in width.

Fewer Stoppages, Increased "Flow"
Passes from behind the defensive blue line to the attacking blue line will be considered legal. The center red line will be ignored for purposes of the "two line pass".
"The Tag-up Rule" will permit play to continue if offensive players who preceded the puck into the zone return to the blue line and "tag" it.

Icing the Puck
Icing the puck offenses still will be penalized by a face-off in the defensive zone of the team that ices the puck.
A team that ices the puck cannot make a line change prior to the ensuing face-off.
"Touch" icing will remain the practice, although the Linesman will have discretion to wave off apparent icing infractions if they are deemed the result of an attempted pass. Providing the discretion to the Linesman also should have the effect of reducing the number of situations in which a race for the puck might result in an injury to a player.

Instigator Rule
A player who instigates a fight in the final five minutes of a game will receive a game misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension would double for each additional incident.
As well, the player's Coach will be fined $10,000 -- a fine that would double for each such incident.

Limits on Goaltenders
The dimensions of goaltender equipment will be reduced by approximately 11 percent. In addition to a one-inch reduction (to 11') in the width of legpads, the blocking glove, upper-body protector, pants and jersey will also be reduced in size.
Goaltenders may play the puck behind the goal line only in a trapezoid-shaped area defined by lines that begin six feet from either goal post and extend diagonally to points 28 feet apart at the endboards.

Officating Points of Emphasis
Zero tolerance on Interference, Hooking and Holding/Obstruction.
Goaltenders who play the puck behind the goal line but outside the designated puck handling area will be penalized for delay of game.
Goaltenders will be penalized for delaying the game if they "freeze" the puck unnecessarily.
Any player who shoots the puck directly over the glass in his defending zone will be penalized for delay of game.

Shootout
Following a scoreless five-minute overtime, three players from each team participate in the order the coach selects.
Each team takes three shots. The team with the most goals after those six shots is the winner.
If the score remains tied, the shootout will proceed to a "sudden death" format.
Regardless the number of goals scored during the shootout portion of overtime, the final score recorded for the game will give the winning team one more goal than the score at the end of regulation time.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct
In addition to the minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct/diving that may be assessed by the Referee during a game, Hockey Operations will review game videos and assess fines to players who dive or embellish a fall or a reaction, or who feigns injury in an attempt to draw penalties.
The first such incident will result in a warning letter being sent to the player.
The second such incident will result in a $1,000 fine.
The third such incident will result in a $2,000 fine.
The fourth such incident will result in a one-game suspension.
Public complaints or derogatory comments toward the game also will result in fines.
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