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What the 2014-15 NHL Rule Changes mean for the Boston Bruins

Less of this.
Less of this.
Jared Wickerham

The NHL has never been more popular, and like any league, the NHL is trying to fix it. So they've put forth some changes to try to increase scoring, or so they say. What are they and what does it mean to the Bruins?

The Trapezoid gets bigger

The trapezoid is getting 2 feet of extra space on either end, but it's still there because goalies playing the puck in the corners is evil. At least, if you're a dump-in team. Which the Bruins aren't, outside of the 4th line. The more they have controlled entries, the more they'll benefit. The more they force uncontrolled entries, the more Rask/Svedberg can help out with getting the puck going back the other way.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 4/5

Like all good teams, the Bruins force their opponents to dump the puck. This will help them out, especially against bad teams. This also gives the goalie a little more rope to give themselves trouble, like Jimmy Howard does here:

More game misconducts

Clipping, charging, elbowing, interference, kneeing, head-butting, and spearing join boarding and checking from behind as Physical Fouls. This is a little bit nuanced, but generally means that the player will get tossed if they incur a major penalty. Players can also get an automatic suspension for getting two of those game misconducts in a season.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 2/5

They don't call 'em the Big Bad Bruins for nothing, you know. Anybody want to start the Milan Lucic Physical Fouls betting pool?

No More Spin-O-Rama

Well, thank god. I thought the shootout was a little too exciting, myself. Better dull it down a bit before somebody enjoys it. But by god, we'll keep it in the game.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 0/5

NHL doesn't have the reproductive organs to fix the shootout mistake, doesn't have the brain to realize that spectacles should be encouraged to get ridiculous. Luckily, spinning is still allowed in the run of play, so Chara can do this again whenever he wants:

Adding leniency on goal review

So, this is a two-parter: First, goals kicked in but not intentionally so will now count. Second, the goal judge will now be able to walk through the replay with the ref to figure out when the ref actually intended to blow the whistle when they lose sight of the puck. This will mean that no-goals like this one that Vladimir Sobotka didn't score back in 2009 against Philadelphia:

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 2.5/5

The Bruins generally score goals when they score goals. A quick poll of "Bruins no goal" shows a lot more videos of people crying about goals not being scored against Boston than examples like that one above. From 2009.

Touching the puck first doesn't forgive a trip

This has to be a player safety thing. Classically in the NHL (as in soccer), you could trip someone up in pursuit of the puck. Now, even if you get the puck you have to not-trip someoneone. However, in situations where a trip creates a penalty shot (last man back situations), touching the puck first means it's only a two-minute minor and not a penalty shot.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 3/5

The Bruins get caught flat-footed a few too many times for my liking, and this will make it harder to defend against rushing players. However, if the Bruins can keep up their 3rd-best-in-the-league powerplay, it might lead to some nice opportunities.

Diving penalties

There are now post-game fines for diving, just like in the NBA. They get a warning the first time and then up to a 5,000 fine will be incurred for the player. After the 4th incident with a player, that player's coach starts getting fined.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 1/5

The Bruins dive plenty, and are on the wrong end of diving plenty. It's a sport, so everyone puts on a show for the refs to get their team an edge. The ref still gives a penalty. Except in extreme cases, like Plekanec last year, this won't really change the game much. Even if a player goes through the full schedule of fines, they're paying $29,000. League minimum is what, 500-something-thousand now? Yeah, I'm sure they'll care a lot. Diving happens because it works.

No more throwing out center on faceoffs

The Bruins have been sort of infamous league-wide for this one. They get called for an icing and Shawn Thornton goes into the faceoff circle. He violates a faceoff rule and gets tossed. So, in comes Gregory Campbell to take the faceoff, and everyone on the Bruins has had an extra couple seconds to catch their breath. The NHL apparently caught onto this little trick, and now the player will get a warning, but stay in the circle. A second violation will still result in a bench minor. This will get more tired players after icings.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 1/5

We had a good thing going, man. And they...they ruined it. However, other teams can't pull this sort of fuckery on us.

Dry scrape and long change in overtime

In their neverending quest to get the shootout out of the game, aside from acting like adults and accepting ties, the NHL will now require teams to switch ends during overtime. This means that they will have the long change, which generally leads to more tired players, which leads to worse defense, which leads to more goals.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 4/5

Last year, the Bruins went 3-6 in the shootout and 4-3 in overtime. They had the fifth-best number when I subtracted shootout save percentage from overtime win percentage. Of course, due to cap considerations they'll have some hotshot kids around next season so maybe we'll be wishing we had more shootouts. Ha!

More o-zone faceoffs from pucks out of bounds

This sorta makes sense. They're adding a few more situations where a puck last touched by an offensive player in the offensive zone going out of bounds results in an offensive zone penalty. New ones include: Shots that break glass, shots that deflect off the side of the net or the boards or the glass and go out of play, shots tipped by a teammate that go out of play, and pucks wedged into the exterior of the net.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 3/5

Who doesn't love offensive zone faceoffs? As long as a good group of players takes them, I mean.

Hash marks move (Preseason tryout)

Hashmarks in circles will now follow the IIHF standard. This will probably lead to slightly less jostling, but I don't know how much less really.

Helps-the-Bruins Rating: 3/5

We do seem to be getting more euros, so maybe this makes them feel more at home? I dunno. Less opportunity for Milan Lucic to do something stupid in the faceoff circle is always a good thing.

Phew. Did you get all that? Let us know which is your favorite rule change in the poll: