The UHL brass and all of the on-ice officials were in Fort Wayne today at McMillen Park Ice Arena for their annual pre-season meetings. They've held it in Fort Wayne I believe ever since the Komets joined the UHL.
One of the main topics of discussion was the UHL is going to follow the NHL and not allow defensive line changes after icings. They are also talking about not allowing line changes after a player shoots the puck into the stands from his own defensive zone. The goal is to continue increasing offense. I like these rules because they encourage offensive aggressiveness. Death to the neutral zone trap!
One hot topic was telling the linesmen not to jump in so quickly on fights unless it looks like a player is at a distinct disadvantage. In other words, let them go to a point, and more than they have been.
I also still think there might be a chance for allowing the home team to decide whether to shoot first or second in shootouts. The UHL is already going to shave the ice before shootouts, in part because the quality of ice is so inconsistent at some arenas, especially depending upon the time of year.
The home team should elect to shoot first every time as the team that scores first wins 74 percent of the time, giving the road team a big advantage since they shoot first. What about this? How much fun would it be as a home-team promotion while the ice is being shaved to ask the crowd to vote on whether a team should shoot first or second?
I also suggested that all of hockey should consider making any high stick infraction a 4-minute penalty instead of a 2-minute penalty. That would clean up a lot of garbage right away. Can anyone give me a reason why this should not happen? I've been thinking all day about why hockey would want to stick with a regular penalty for high sticking, especially considering the cost of insurance and the safety issue. and I'm trying to figure out if there's some reason I haven't considered.
I'd still like to see a two minute delay of game penalty for any player who shoots the puck outside the rink. I know that's a little tougher because there is no uniform height for glass in each building, but I think a league's first priority ought to be protecting fans.
What other rules changes would you like to see? Forget about it, they'll never get rid of the instigator penalty. LOL.