AHL Tweaks OT, Fighting , Plus Prospects Updates And More

Sportsnet.ca

RULE CHANGES

The American Hockey League is generally a testing ground for rule changes before they get implemented into the NHL. Before last season, the no-touch icing was tested and then implemented. That one is still being ironed out a bit as so many times the refs made the wrong calls as to who was going to win the race for the puck. That needs to be remedied quick before a blown icing call decides the fate of an important game. Moving on to what the AHL will implement this coming season:

3 ON 3 OT

Halleluiah it's finally happening! (With a twist). Regular season overtimes will be increased from 5 minutes to 7 minutes. Overtimes will start 4 on 4. The 3 on 3 action will occur after the first stoppage of play after the three minute mark.

"I think our coaches and players and general managers still feel that they would rather see the game settled in something other than a shootout," AHL President and CEO David Andrews said. "I think this overtime rule that we’re bringing in this year attempts to do that. I think our hockey people believe, and I certainly agree with them, that going to a 3-on-3 is going to become a very entertaining way to try to finish the game for our fans and should lead to a lot of excitement."

So there could be 3 on 3 action for 3:59 or less. Sounds awesome! We want to kill the shootout anyway, right? The shootout is exciting but hardly a proper way to give a team the extra point. So my big question is: what happens when a player takes a penalty while 3 on 3? Then it's 3 on 2? Woohoo! How about coincidental minors? 2 on 2? Yippee! Could it even get to a 2 on 1 situation? Oh myyyyy!  I hope this concept rules the school at the AHL level and the NHL adopts it in 2015-16. That is where your most skilled players, regardless of size will come into play.

There's another niche. Since the elongated OT will chew up more TV time, if the game still gets to a shootout, it will be 3 players from each team taking shootout attempts instead of 5. Fair enough. By then the goalies are gonna be f*cked anyway!

FIGHTING

Hey, I love staged fights and fighting in general in the NHL (and anywhere, really). But here's the change:  A player that gets into a second fight in a game is automatically ejected. I guess the difference here, after reading the NHL rulebook, is that now, whether you instigated the fight or not, you fight twice and you're out, where before, the instigator got tossed.

OK, so they want to limit fighting in the NHL and AHL. I am not going to comment anymore on how old-school I am and how I love players policing themselves. That era is dying. The star players are no longer protected properly. Oh well. Your move, NHL. I give up.

HELMET SAFETY

This one is interesting too. If a player loses his helmet, he either has to go to the bench to change off, or go grab his lid and not only put it back on, AND attach the chin straps. If he doesn't he receives a minor penalty. There is some hilarity here. Can you imagine a player taking himself out of he play to screw on his lid properly? Jeez, that takes a bit of time and he's out of the play. May as well rip to the bench and get someone else out there. It would save the time of your team being shorthanded. Of course the biggest thing here is to have your helmet screwed on properly in the first place. Oh wait, I guess that's the whole point. No shortcuts! Safety first!

SOME CANUCKS PROSPECT LOVE

Here is some Sportsnet footage of the Canucks prospects doing the Grouse Grind:

Who is Brendan Gaunce pushing at the 1:33 mark? Hahaha. Suckers. But hey, good on them.

And good on them for participating in this:

Speaking of the kids, even Tony Gallagher, old Gollum himself is impressed by this crop of kids. He makes an interesting point though in his article Lots Of Promising Canucks, But Will We Ever See Them? A key paragraph or two in that article:

1. Will the team ever create spots for their younger players. They talk a big story, always have. But when the lineup is chosen and the roster is set, rookies never seem to find a place.

2. With Hank, Bonino, Vey, Richardson and Matthias all centers who have 1-way contracts, if Horvat is going o play the position at which he was drafted ninth overall last season, there is going to have to be a rapid game of musical chairs with a couple of guys getting seats out of position. They never seem to create spots for younger players.

3. This fall, guys like Jensen, Gaunce, and Shinkaruk may as well pack their bags for Utica upon arrival no matter how they play at camp.

Gallagher is not too far off here. Jim Benning has a full roster in place already. The defencemen are set, bottom line. But up front, it gets dicey. Tom Sestito is my pick as the 13th forward after the Canucks sign Linden Vey. So really, either Benning trades off a couple forwards (Sestito for starters!) if a couple prospects blow his mind and are ready for the bigs, or the prospects head to Utica (those who don't go back to junior) and await their chances when the injuries hit. Maybe that's what Benning means. He preaches "retool" but also preaches up-tempo hockey and giving the kids every chance to play so.........

Having said that, there are so many prospects that are going to benefit from time in the AHL. We jump at Horvat making the bigs from the OHL but how do we know if he's ready or not? We're just punk-assed armchair GM's. However, at some point you'd like to see the Canucks skip the seemingly over-cautious behaviour and give a couple kids a chance to skip the Grouse Grind next year.

A couple of interesting pics of Horvat, bears, Fox and owl hat tip to Pass It To Bulis.

MARKSTROM DENIES ASKING FOR A TRADE

I'm not going to blast the Province's Jason Botchford for falsely reporting that Jacob Markstrom asked for a trade after the Canucks signed Ryan Miller on July 1st. But, Markstrom went on record with the Team 1040 saying:

Cool, but Markstrom is the 3rd goalie behind Lack and Miller. So, Marky Markstrom is going to have to make sure he's the 3rd guy by being better than Joe Cannata and Joacim Eriksson in Utica. I still see this as a trade waiting to happen. However, Markstrom's value is not high right now. It will be interesting to see what the Canucks do with this situation. Remember, Markstrom makes $1.2 million when he plays in the NHL. I'm sure there are not many takers for that!

RYAN KESLER

I promise not to post much more shiz about Ryan Kesler. But since the wounds are still fresh, here he is getting all cozy in Anaheim:

Awwwwww. isn't that cute? BURN HIM!

BOOZE!

Canucks hire Vancouver bartender extraordinaire Jay Jones to overhaul Rogers Arena’s beverage experience.

A key note from that article:

New B.C. liquor regulations also permit Canucks fans to drink hard liquor in the stands, which should expand the drink choices along the Rogers Arena concourse.

Yeaaaa!!!! So, you already paid a buttload for your tickets to the game, so why pay a buttload for the beer? Hey, nobody in that article is mentioning the obscene price of alcohol at Canucks games. More variety of drinks? So what! You're still paying out of your ass for those drinks.  So here is what I suggest: smuggle in a mickey of your favorite hard alcohol and just buy pop at the venue. Also: be discreet when mixing the two at your seat.

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