Olympics vs. NHL: How the rules are different

Updated: December 16, 2005, 11:36 AM ET
ESPN.com

We've seen all of the new rule changes to the NHL this season. But when the league's best head to Turin, Italy, for the 2006 Winter Olympics, some of the old rules will be mixed in with the new.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) oversees Olympic and world championship competitions and did not change its rules to coincide with the NHL's new look. The biggest gap now is with goaltender rules as the IIHF will still abide by the old equipment sizes from the NHL's previous collective-bargaining agreement.

Here is a look at the discrepancies between the IIHF and NHL rules, with the new differences as of the 2005-06 NHL season in bold.

Olympics vs. NHL: How the rules are different
RULE IIHF NHL
Bench penalty Any player can serve this penalty Must be served by a player on the ice
Checking from behind Minor plus misconduct or major plus game misconduct Major plus game misconduct
Faceoffs Attacking team must place stick down first; pucks go down 15 seconds after stoppage. Visiting team must place stick down first; 15-second time drop does not apply
Fighting Match penalty or major plus game misconduct Major penalty
Goaltending -- Equipment Big equipment until the end of 2005-06 (players will be allowed to wear sizes from old NHL CBA) Downsized equipment as of 2005-06
Goaltending -- Freezing the puck Will take a minor penalty for falling on puck beyond hash marks or behind the goal line May freeze puck anywhere in defending zone, provided he is being checked.
Goaltending -- Handling the puck Can handle puck anywhere behind the goal line Cannot handle puck outside designated trapezoid area behind the net
Icing Icing call when puck crossed the goal line; a team that ices the puck is permitted to make a player change prior to ensuing faceoff Touch-icing, icing call when defensive player touches puck; a team that ices the puck is not permitted to make a player change prior to faceoff
Penalty shots Any player may take a shot; team has option of taking shots or make opposing team serve the minor penalty Player fouled must take the shot; if he cannot, another player that was on the ice at time of infraction must take it
Protection of goaltender If attacking player stands in crease, play is stopped and there is a faceoff in the neutral zone. Play is not stopped if attacking player is in the crease.
Puck over glass No penalty Delay of game minor penalty if ruled that player intentionally shoots puck over the glass
Rink dimensions Width is 98.5 feet, length is 200 feet Width is 85 feet, length is 200 feet
Time outs Both teams are permitted a time out during same stoppage, but second team must notify referee before opponent's expires (also one per game) Only one team is permitted a time out during stoppage; one 30-second time out during the game
Wearing helmets Minor penalty if player is not wearing helmet; if it comes off, player must put it back on or go to the bench If a player's helmet comes off during game action, he can continue to play
Zone dimensions Neutral zone is 56.8 feet, offensive zone is 56.8 feet Neutral zone is 55 feet, offensive zone is 64 feet