The NHL is going to have numerous rule changes for the 2019-20 season which will include using expanded video review and improved player safety initiatives, as well as encouraging even more offense and flow in the game.
The rule changes were approved by the League’s Board of Governors, NHL
General Managers and the Competition Committee over the last few weeks. NHL Hockey Operations will work on the exact rule book language over the coming weeks. Below is an overview of the changes:
Expansion of Coach’s Challenge
New Category: Besides Coach’s Challenge for “Off-side” and “Interference on the Goalkeeper”, a third category will let the Coach’s Challenge of goal calls on the ice that follows plays in the offensive zone that should have resulted in a play stoppage but didn’t.
This change will let plays be challenged that may involve pucks that are high-sticked to a teammate in the offensive zone, pucks that hit the spectator netting, pucks that have gone out of play but are touched in the offensive zone and hand passes that go before a play stoppage and conclude in the scoring of a goal. Plays that have penalty calls will not be subject to a Coach’s Challenge.
Coach’s Challenges for these sorts of plays (and for “Off-Side” Challenges) will only be available if the puck does not come out of the attacking zone between the time of the missed infraction and when the goal is scored.
Line Changes for Defensive Team: The defensive team will not be allowed a line change when a goalie stops the puck on any shot from outside the center red line. Likewise, if the actions of a skater of the defensive team create a stoppage by inadvertently dislodging the net from its moorings, the defensive team won’t be permitted to do a line change. In both of these examples, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will occur.
To see Angela James play hockey was to see something amazing. Her powerful stride left all her competitors in her dust. Her bone-rattling body checks, when that was still part of the women’s game, awaited anyone who tried to catch up with her. She was, as many say, women’s hockey’s first superstar.
James was born in Toronto to an American father who moved to Canada from racially segregated Mississippi and a white Canadian mother. James got her start in hockey in the boys’ house league.
James grew up in a tough neighborhood in North Toronto and skated her way through race and gender barriers as a young black woman playing what was long thought of as the white man’s game. She made it all the way to the international stage and never came to a podium she couldn’t top, winning four world championship gold medals, as well as registering 22 goals and 34 points in 20 games over those four tournaments. She created the way for so many young Canadian women to go on to play hockey on the Olympic stage. The irony is James herself never did.
Even though she’s has since retired from her playing days, James’s legend continues to grow with each young woman who laces up the skates. In 2010, she was the first woman inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame, an honor she shared with Team USA star Cammi Granato.
James earned the nickname “The Wayne Gretzky of Women’s Hockey” after a college season at Seneca where she accomplished 50 goals and 73 points in 14 games.
Angela James is the second black player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, along with NHL goaltender Grant Fuhr. James was one of the first two women and the first openly gay player to get into the Hall in 2010, seven years after Fuhr’s induction.
Another film that could appear to rank too low on this list. But Goon, similar to Slap Shot, isn’t standing the test of time very well.
An amusing story about a dim-minded Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) who can’t skate but can protect and fight the skilled players by intimidation, this independent Canadian film wants to sell the idea of the self-aware goon who vehemently avenges his teammates since the game is certainly violent. It succeeds as entertaining and fun, as Doug is perhaps the nicest hockey player ever on film. However, its celebration of fighting and lack of attention toward the outcome of fighting just don’t add up.
It’s hard to fill out a roster of great hockey films, and Miracle just makes the cut. There are way better films, like Inside Out, that is hockey themed. There are way better films that few have seen, like Swift Current, which documents Sheldon Kennedy’s experience of sexual abuse in junior hockey. And even though Miracle has its charms, it exemplifies what’s stale about hockey films.
Miracle is guilty of the most hockey film clichés on this list. A group of underdog players beats the invincible team in improbable fashion. The players are bag-skated until they learn an important lesson. The coach dismisses the odds and relies on trust and instincts. The name on the front of the sweater is more vital than the one on the back. A dressing-room speech encourages victory.
The Sweater: This National Film Board short is a time capsule of 50s French Canada, and in that context, it’s a staple in the hockey world.
Inside Out: The Pixar-animated film touches a little on the main character’s relationship with hockey, but it becomes a crucial element to a beautiful story. If you want a good cry, cry heavily on this film.
Despite The Mighty Ducks being the usual Disney fare, it was the hockey film for a generation of young hockey fans who’d never watched The Bad News Bears. A championship game that didn’t conclude with a fight but instead a skilled play. A coach who tells his player, “I believe in you, Charlie. Win or Lose.”
The Mighty Ducks rebukes the win-at-all-costs notion of many hockey films while a team of lower-middle-class kids beats the rich kids. It’s one of the few to have non-male and non-white players on the featured team, and gives on- and off-ice screen time to each character.
Another film taking aim at Canada’s national politics combined with hockey, The Rocket rises above the average hockey biopic by portraying Canadiens legend Maurice Richard as the top of the Quebecois cultural spear during a time of separation between English Canada and French.
The Rocket’s sensitive approach to the story is viewed too in the filming of the hockey scenes. The low-lighting of 50s hockey arenas, the helmet-less players, and the cool color hues give us a notion that Richard is by himself in the cold of the rink.
THE GAME OF HER LIFE (1998)
Documenting the lead-up to the first women’s Olympic ice hockey tournament in ‘98, The Game of Her Life offers a unique and rare look at one of the most important chapters in women’s hockey history from a Canadian perspective.
Made by the National Film Board and directed by Lyn Wright, the film tells of Team Canada’s ascent to its first Olympic Games and its heartbreaking loss to Team USA. These were the first Olympic matches between two of hockey’s greatest rivals, and the very true tension between the teams is set up and explored excellently in the film.
There is one part of this film that will stick with someone. Detroit Red Wings general manager Jack Adams is discussing with Gordie Howe over the star’s one-year contract. Howe’s wife Colleen had just encouraged her husband to ask for an extra $2,000 over last season instead of his usual $1,000 raise. Howe is manipulated by Adams and doesn’t. Adams smiles and throws the signed contract in the drawer.
Based on the novel by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths, Net Worth tells about the beginnings of the formation of the NHL Players’ Association in the face of overbearing owners who exploit the players and bust their attempts to create a union.
Hockey is fun. It’s a boy’s dream. At least that’s what owners have been telling everyone.
Once you’ve watched Net Worth, you won’t forget it.
INDIAN HORSE (2017)
No list of the best hockey films can be accurate or complete to the sport’s troubled history without acknowledging its abusive or exclusionary nature. And no hockey film does this better than Indian Horse.
Taking place within Canadian residential schools that neglected and abused Indigenous children, the film based on Richard Wagamese’s book of the same name centers around a young boy Saul Indian Horse who is taken from his family but tries to pull himself out of the residential school life by schooling himself to play hockey.
Indian Horse is not a story about a resilient “other” who is successful despite the odds. Saul quits hockey despite pleas from his coach who appeals to Saul by showing him the success of Indigenous NHLer Reggie Leach.
SLAP SHOT (1977)
The throne for best hockey film has been Slap Shot’s to lose for years, and yet it’s put out again and again on best-of lists like it’s a geriatric honoree at a Montreal Canadiens pregame ceremony. Its cultural impact and iconography are irrefutable but it’s time to give the throne to more inclusive films.
One thing that’s for certain is that hockey films tend to represent the experience of the wealthy male and white demographic, the one that also inhabits the sport itself.
Some of the best hockey films aren’t well-known yet they question our assumptions about the sport. Like the assumption that Russian players are enigmatic or that men are fundamentally better and more entertaining on the ice than women, or that hockey is a unifying force in communities or across a nation.
Great hockey films are out there. It’s just time to rank them.
RED ARMY (2014)
Gabe Polsky’s Red Army does what few if any films have accomplished. It offers a true glimpse at the life of Soviet hockey players. It comes across as the most authentic portrayal of the Soviet Union’s relationship to hockey and shows how dramatically Russian-style hockey altered the sport.
CANADA-RUSSIA ’72 (2006)
The second-best hockey film is one in which Canadians are conclusively self-effacing about one of their greatest on- and off-ice triumphs embarrassments. In Canada-Russia ’72, the CBC film relives the famed Summit Series of 1972 when for the first time Canada’s best pro hockey players took on the powerhouse Soviets.
Created in 2006, the three-hour film puts a critical eye on the obnoxious, violent, relentless behavior of the Canadian team that got the victory in the eight-game series. The historical event is believed to be with many Canadians as a confirmation of the country’s dominance in hockey. But Canada-Russia ’72 paints everyone involved as crude and petulant in their pursuit of beating the Soviets. What was supposed to be an easy win turned into a national identity crisis.
The hockey in the film is great to watch. Whole sequences are reproduced from documentary footage that seems natural instead of staged. The audience is privy to a good amount of dramatized behind-the-scenes moments that offer a new context.
No jokes, NHL 2007 made the franchise what it is now. The introduction of the skill stick control system produced the most genuine hockey video game at the time and was EA’s best version.
Gone were the days of button mashing, since the skill stick made you feel like you were in total control of the player from head to feet. It still had a good number of kinks to work out, but this game no doubt laid the foundation for the next decade of the series and was the start of what it is today.
Two words. Hero Line.
Hero lines were basically a group of your team’s best five players with their ratings raised to 99 overall in the waning minutes of the game. If you’re down a goal in the last minute of an NHL 2003 contest, use your hero line and you’re essentially guaranteed to tie the game up. If you’re defending against your opponent’s hero line, icing the puck was the only wise choice to live.
Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
Forget just hockey, Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey is in the pantheon of all video games.
It was unrivaled fun for its time. The first time you saw a goalie turn into a brick wall, you were hooked. Add in slapshots so hard that it sent the netminder falling back through the goal, and the chance to light the net on fire if you scored enough, and you have the ideal amount of appeal and amusement.
Nintendo 64 was the more well-liked version, but the stand-up arcade style with the greasy joysticks was exciting because of its rarity. Hockey arenas that possessed Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey were visited by kids feeding the machine countless numbers of their parents’ quarters. Simply put, any rink that had the arcade version was a rink rat’s oasis.
Be-A-Pro mode is perhaps the coolest concept EA Sports has ever brought to the franchise. Having the capability to build your player from the ground up and create his career beginning to end giving you the chance to live out the childhood fantasy of being on your favorite team.
The hugest downfall of NHL 09 was that you could get goals at will by using glitches that were never corrected. Online play was a total free-for-all and didn’t resemble real hockey, as it was just a contest to see who exploited the defects better.
NHL 2K Mini-Games
I live by the belief that there isn’t an NHL 2K game that compares satisfactorily to one of its EA Sports counterparts. Based only on gameplay, it’s never been close. The exception to that is when 2K decided to put mini-games in its repertoire.
Mini-games were a great alternative if you wanted to play with a large group of friends. The free-for-all style that 2K built was lots of fun and somewhat made up for its failings compared to EA’s games.
NHL Hitz 2003
NHL Hitz 2003 was released by Midway Games, the maker of the over-the-top football game NFL Blitz. That right there should give you a good idea of what Midway was trying to do with NHL Hitz.
The absence of realism in each part of this game was really comical. You could create a player with a dolphin head, skate around like a lizard, or create an 8-foot tall clown. Also, you could unlock hockey arenas on the beach or on the moon. There were endless choices in absurdity.
3 on 3 NHL Arcade
Right alongside the glitchfest known as NHL 09, this was a way easier version that evened the playing field for both first-timers and aficionados. Three-on-three played on a little rink made for high-scoring, high-paced tilts. Add in power-ups like rocket skates and tiny goalies, and you have the ideal formula for many hours of entertainment.
From the old Super Nintendo in your closet to the PlayStation 4 presently under your television, each video game platform has taken a chance at creating a hockey game. There are way too many variables to come to an agreement on the top hockey video games, but the argument is worth having. In regards to reception, enjoyment, and playability, these are the top hockey video games of all time.
Who do you choose first in any game of the Backyard sports series?
Any answer that isn’t Pablo Sanchez is wrong.
It’s conceded that Backyard Hockey was absolutely the weakest of the Backyard series, but it was right for a PC game. It had plenty of mouse-mashing which equaled to lots of wrong passes and shots. Penalties, while never called, were settled with a timeless game of rock-paper-scissors.
Starring real NHL players like Steve Yzerman, Mike Modano, and Jarome Iginla made it likable as you could compose a cast of All-Stars to pick up the slack of Pete Wheeler and company.
NHL Breakaway 99
This was one of many hockey games that was more fun with the rules turned off. The number of whistles from offsides and two-line passes was staggering if you didn’t.
This game also is known as the hardest of all time to score. It occurred so rarely that it was usually by accident when it did. Still, for its time, this was excellent for playing as your favorite NHL superstars.
This game wasn’t essentially leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, NHL 2003, but it is on the list for one reason: the soundtrack. If there’s a better set of songs ever put together for any sports video game, it has yet to be discovered. It’s not shameful to say that many of the featured songs still frequent many headphones on a continuous basis.
The Blackhawks had their end of the season press conference at the United Center and the mood around the room was dissatisfaction that they won’t be in the playoffs, but hopefulness about being able to bounce back next year.
Head coach Jeremy Colliton:
“Really feel better about how the team was doing at the end as opposed to the beginning. And I think that truly, we want to win, we want to get into the playoffs, we want to still be playing, it’s disappointing not to be. We felt we were on our way and had an opportunity. I feel ultimately the progress, we got better and we got some fundamentals to work on going into next year. We will persist in making progress, but we’re not starting from the beginning and that’s good.
“Got a chance to build relationships with all these dudes and they feel me and I feel them and just think it will let us have a much better start. Finally, it was too large a hole to crawl out in December. But I think we’re in the place to do plenty of work in the offseason in training camp and here to have a much better start in the new season.”
Captain Jonathan Toews:
“You want to have a positive outlook as to where things are heading. But you’ve got to be real too as far as where you have to develop, where you have to do better. At the end of the day, we were on the hunt. We had a chance to win games to get into the playoffs.
It’s easy to say what happened at the beginning of the season, if that would have been any different, we’d be in a different place right now. But we’re not happy one way or another. You have to learn all you can from the situation and let it be that encouraging factor that makes you better next year.”