The American Hockey League has long been the incubator for potential NHL rules. While the new standards adopted by the AHL Board of Governors this week aren’t official test studies from the NHL, they’re curious tweaks that could have implications down the road for the senior circuit.
From the AHL:
Teams will wear light jerseys at home until the Christmas break, and dark jerseys at home after the Christmas break.
According to the AHL, it’s just to change up the look during the season. And, well, give fans at look at living models in the arena wearing both jerseys. That too.
That teams continue to wear white at home will warm the hearts of old-school fans and anyone who values the basic narrative standard that the good guys are the ones in the white hats and the bad guys wear the black hats. Well, save for Luke Skywalker in JEDI. But then, JEDI had warrior teddy bears, too.
On fighting, some significant changes:
Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”)
Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.
The first rule really puts an end to staged fights. Or at least a player having more than one of them in the same game.
The rest is a spin on the OHL fighting plan that was enacted four years ago.
The AHL had 22 players with 10 or more fights last season, according to Hockey Fights. They had eight players with 14 or more fights, including Michael Liambas, who had 20 fights, which means – barring the instigator caveat, which is a good one to have – that he would have also been suspended 18 games.
But this rule pretty much means the AHL isn’t keen on seeing its players reach 14 fights on their own.
Finally, on icing:
Rule 82 (“Icing”)
In addition to not being permitted to make player substitutions, the offending team on an icing violation also may not use its team time-out.
Love it. Now stop allowing teams to ice the puck on the penalty kill and we’ll really have something.