New year, new rules: Rule No. 15

Updated: December 15, 2010, 10:54 AM ET
ESPN The Magazine

Rule No. 15: Protect hockey players the Euro way

Safety first, right? It is overseas, anyway. Adopting some international rules could make the NHL a cleaner game.

To see what six NHL players and one NHL coach think of these rules proposals, you can go here.

BAN ALL HEAD SHOTS.
Despite the recent ban on blindside hits, there's been no decrease in NHL concussions. Time to follow the lead of the International Ice Hockey Federation, which penalizes any head contact at all.

INSTITUTE NO-TOUCH ICING.
Eliminating headlong races for first touch curbs colossal, end-board collisions between full-bore defensemen and forwards.

DITCH THE TRAPEZOID.
If goaltenders can play the puck anywhere, and not just directly behind the net, D-men have to do less back-to-the-action puck retrieval, and thus are targets of fewer blindside hits.

EXPAND THE ICE.
Increasing the playing surface to international dimensions (200 feet x 100 feet as opposed to 200 x 85) enhances the value of skilled players. But it also makes lumbering enforcers obsolete. Guys incapable of contributing with their gloves on will soon be out of the league. And, now, one more from these shores (okay, our office) ...

MAKE MAJORS MATTER.
Players shouldn't have to subject themselves to concussions by fighting to keep pests in line. So how about this: For major penalties, the opposition selects which skater spends the five minutes in the box -- and the offending player has to stay on the ice for the first two minutes of the power play.

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