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NHL To Test Radical Rule Changes At Second Annual Research Camp

Some radical and some common-sense rule changes will be tested at the NHL's second annual Resarch, Development and Orientation Camp on August 17 and 18.

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The NHL announced the details for their second annual Research, Development and Orientation Camp on Tuesday, and with the details come the news of some rather extreme, but intriguing, rule changes.

The camp will be held at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto on Wednesday, August 17 and Thursday, August 18, and just as last year, it will feature the top Junior players in the world. It's an opportunity for the prospects to get in front of a bigger audience just as it's an opportunity for the league to test things it otherwise would not have the opportunity to test.

They'll take a look at several of the proposed rules that were tested a year ago at the camp, such as hybrid icing, no-touch icing and different positioning of faceoff circles. Other new posted changes being introduced include 3-on-3 overtime after the current 4-on-4 overtime period, the institution of a five-man shootout instead of the three-man version the NHL uses today, the removal of the trapezoid behind the net, and the rule that all penalties must be served in their entirety. 

Some of these are obviously smart ideas, such as the "verification line" behind the actual goal line that shows whether or not the entire puck has crossed the goal line. Others are obviously radical ideas that will likely never find their way into an NHL game, such as allowing hand passes in all zones and permitting line changes only on the fly. 

Regardless, this camp is awesome, if only because of the funny pictures of the ice. Look at the surface in the photo attached to this story. It's fantastic.

The camp will also afford the NHL the opportunity to play with different ideas for the All-Star SuperSkills competition -- changes and modifications to the events that are already in place at the annual showcase. 

Here's a full look at the schedule for the two day event. 

Wednesday, Aug. 17

10:00 a.m - Noon

  • No-touch icing
  • No line change for team committing an offside
  • Faceoff variations (penalty line for center committing an infraction; all faceoffs in circles; same linesman drops puck for all faceoffs)
  • No icing permitted while shorthanded
  • Verification line (additional line behind the goal line)
  • Overtime variation (four minutes of 4-on-4 followed by three minutes of 3-on-3)
  • Shootout variation (5-man shootout precedes sudden-death format)
  • Shallow-back nets

2:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m.

  • After offside, faceoff goes back to offending team's end
  • Faceoff variations (both centers must come set on whistle; all faceoffs in circles; same linesman drops puck for all face-offs)
  • Delayed penalty variation (offending team must exit zone in possession of puck to stop play)
  • Changes only permitted on-the-fly (except after goals and upon manpower changes)
  • Strict enforcement of goaltenders covering puck outside crease (Rule 63.2)
  • Remove trapezoid
  • Verification line
  • Allow hand passes in all zones
  • Overtime variation (switch ends)
  • Shootout variation (5-man shootout with repeat players if tied after 5 shooters)
  • Thin-netting nets

Thursday, Aug. 18

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  • 'Hybrid' icing
  • Offside variation (offending team can't change and faceoff in its end zone)
  • Faceoff variations (player encroaching can't replace thrown-out center, all faceoffs in circles; same linesman drops puck for all faceoffs)
  • All penalties to be served in their entirety
  • Strict enforcement of goaltenders covering puck outside crease (rule 63.2)
  • Bear-hug rule
  • Verification line
  • Overtime variation (switch ends for four minutes of 4-on-4, followed by three minutes of 3-on-3)
  • Shootout variation (3-man shoot out with repeat shooters if tied after 3 shooters)
  • Shallow-back nets

1:30pm to 3:30pm

  • All-Star Skills competition (fastest skater, breakaway challenge, accuracy shooting, skills relay challenge, hardest shot, elimination shootout)

Other technology/modifications to be tested during various sessions:

  • On-ice officials communication -- ref-to-ref wireless
  • Overhead camera -- to assist Hockey Operations reviews of various initiatives (verification line/goal netting/in-net camera)
  • In-net camera -- mounted camera at one end with one net with camera view focused on the goal line to help verify goals
  • Robotic camera -- to test camera angles for coverage closer to ice
  • Video replay application review
  • Curved glass -- protection options at players bench areas     

NHL Network had some coverage of the 2010 event. There's no word on if that will be the case this year.