When a team starts play with the puck in the offensive zone, it can lead to really good things. Like goals. That’s why the NHL tweaked its rules over the summer to allow attacking teams to choose the side of the ice on which they’d like to take the draw in four specific situations. And while a very small sample size in a very unscientific study revealed that its impact was negligible on the first night of the season, coaches and players expect it to have an impact.
First, a refresher on the rule change. Attacking teams can now choose which dot to take the faceoff after an icing, at the start of a power play, on a shot taken from outside the red line that is frozen by the goalie and when a defending player unintentionally dislodges the net. The thinking is that centers will be able to choose their ‘strong side’, which gives them a greater chance of winning the draw and gaining possession. On icings, they’ll also be able to put out a fresh center, while the defending team doesn’t get a change.