Kick out the Worst Rule in the NHL

January 26th, 2010 by Tambland Leave a reply »

After the lockout, the NHL made great strides in improving the game. New rule changes, like the elimination of two line passing, made the game faster, and much more entertaining. It would be pretty easy to argue that this is some of the best hockey over the last 20 years in the NHL.

And while the league has significantly improved its product, there is still one rule that grinds my gears. Why can’t a player kick the puck into the net?

Now, keep in mind that as a fan, I love when an opposition goal is called back because of this rule. But let me highlight a few reasons why this is one of the most dated and backwards rule that the league has.

1.  Skill

I’m not a great hockey player, and nor will I ever pretend to be. My defensive play is laughable, and I have hands like cinder blocks. So I for one can appreciate skillful players. So to actually be able to kick a puck into the net is a pretty impressive feet. A lot of those pucks are the results of pretty fast plays; anybody who has the wherewithal to actually kick that puck, frankly deserves a goal.

2.  Entertainment Value

Ask any number of European players what they would be if they didn’t play hockey, and football/soccer can always be counted on for a few answers. Many of these players grew up playing both sports, so the skill is clearly there. I, for one, would love to see some of the dekes or last ditch efforts that lead to a player kicking the puck into the net.

3.  Flow of the Game

If nothing else, the video review of a ‘kicked’ puck can really take away from the flow of a game, and can play a pretty big role in changing momentum in the game. By avoiding video review of suspect goals, I’m sure fans would be much happier. Think of it from an outsider’s perspective. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to non-fans for a goal to not count because it was kicked in. And it definitely wouldn’t be that entertaining to watch continuous replays talking about it.

Bottom line, from my perspective, is that this is a dated rule, and should be one of the first that the NHL should look at changing. As long as the puck doesn’t go in off a hand or a high stick, it should simply be a goal. And that my friends, is not under review.

Stay classy, outdated kicking motion rule.

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  1. MasterOfPuppets says:

    Since curved posts and bigger nets are out of the question, why not?

  2. AndrewK says:

    I agree kicked in goals are cool, but you can’t have players swinging their feet around goalies just due to safety reasons. If there’s a loose puck, and a player whose stick is tied up tries to go for the kick while the goalie goes for the cover, there’s a good chance of a laceration. Not only is it gruesome to watch a goalie’s arm sliced open, it’ll keep them out for weeks or months. It should be left as is.

  3. Burgundy says:

    @ AndrewK – That’s a fair point, so how about saying pucks can be redirected/kicked in so long as skates don’t leave the ice surface? I realize video review time would be spent trying to determine if the skate left the ice versus the “distinct kicking motion” reviews we have now. But still…

    Other rules they should look into is automatic icing and removing the goalies octogone-box-thing behind the net. I believe restricting goalies playing the puck is a big reason why players are killing each other on icing/non-icing calls.

  4. Kyle says:

    I personally would not want to see this rule changed. Imagine a scrum in front of the net with opposing forwards kicking and hacking away at a loose puck. That’s not hockey if you ask me. And if attacking players are going to be kicking at the puck, defenders will also kick to keep it out, moreso than they do now. Injuries aside, it would look bush league in my opinion.

    To me the first rule(s) that need to be changed are an automatic 2-minute penalty for breaking an opponent’s stick with a slash. These things are as durable as an icicle. The refs should be able to use some discretion. The other rule needing to reviewed is the 2 minute delay of game minor. This, to me, is the dumbest rule in hockey. If the league wants to continue the flow of the game, they should raise the glass higher, and extend the netting around the sides of the rink; then allow the puck to be ‘live’ once it hits the netting.

  5. metricjulie says:

    impressive FEET, OHHH I GET IT. Classy.

    I agree with Kyle though. If they are going to change any rule, it should be the delay-of-game minor.

  6. Burgundy says:

    @ Kyle – I actually dislike the idea of allowing pucks to be live when hitting netting. I feel someone is going to get hurt from an unsuspecting hit (because their are looking for the puck) and it would look bad for a bunch of hockey players to have their heads all looking upwards for a puck.

    Are the slashing penalties automatic or is it an automatic reaction from refs? I’ve never actually been clear on that. Totally agree it should be the ref’s discretion. Sometimes the sticks don’t even break – the player wasn’t holding onto it tightly at all.

  7. I think this would open the door to some good and some bad. Like Kyle said a scrum in front of the net in OT of game 7 of the cup finals and players are trying to kick the puck out of the goalies glove to win it all could be a blood bath.

    Although some of the immediate wicked ass goals that pop in my head are, well, wicked. The skill that could be displayed could wow us internet folk for hours ;)

    And you know Ovi would try to flip the puck up in the air and scissor kick it in the net. Followed by him taking his skate off and claiming that it is too hot.


  8. Chris Nadeau says:

    I think it would be fine to allow the players the opportunity to direct the puck in the net with their skate. I mean they can make passes with their feet, why not towards the net? Remember Elias’s sweet kick pass?

    As for players kicking at the puck when it is in front of the net, well I really don’t see that happening either. If you have a stick in your hand, you can shoot it much harder and quicker then trying to kick it in with your skate. Same as passing.

    It would help increase goal amounts and I really think the players would treat it the same way they treat the way they can now pass with their skates


  9. AndrewK says:

    Burgundy – I think it would set a bad precedent. You’d have a lot of skate dragging, and a ton of gray area, even more than there is right now.

    I actually like the delay of game rule. It sucks when it happens to your team, but it increases the amount of skill that you need on the PK because the high dump becomes much more dangerous. Also, the play should be called dead when the puck hits the mesh. If the mesh weren’t there, the puck would be gone. Not only that, players pulling the dump and chase could fire some home runs on the way in!

  10. Burgundy says:

    “And you know Ovi would try to flip the puck up in the air and scissor kick it in the net. Followed by him taking his skate off and claiming that it is too hot.”


  11. Burgundy says:

    Chris, I agree 100% with that post. I feel the same way. Don’t lift skates, allow redirections.

    At some point, I see goalies getting upset about this (if they aren’t already). Basically, fans/the NHL are trying to make for more goals because goalies have become so proficient at stopping the puck.

  12. Sens19 says:

    You’re not allowed to touch the ball with your hand in a soccer game neither should you be allowed to kick a puck in. Every sport should have its move and hockey doesnt/shouldnt include kicking. I’m ok with a puck bouncing off a body part (leg) but not the player actually kicking it. I’m actually very in favour with this rule, I’d rather see high stick goals count thank kicks

    And lol @Justin about Ovie, he’d probab do it

  13. Burgundy says:

    I think you should be able to throw the puck into the net… but only from behind your own goal line. Kidding.

    Seriously, where’s Tambland and why isn’t he responding to his own article? What a weirdo…

  14. Tambland says:

    Alright, I’m here. And I’ve given it a lot of thought.

    First, there is an inherent danger in allowing players to use their feet. On that I won’t argue.

    But, I don’t think this is a rule change that mandates kicking the puck into the net is a good goal. Instead, I think it is a rule change that gets rid of the “distinct kicking motion” rule. I believe that in all instances when the puck has ‘been kicked in’, it wasn’t a mad scramble at the net with everyone kicking. Rather, it is usually a player redirecting a pass with his foot.

    So yes, this might open a can of worms in terms of the types of goals, but a player shouldn’t be limited if he is only able to get a skate blade on the puck. I don’t know. I just find the rule takes away from the speed and finesse of the game.

  15. Burgundy says:

    You have terrific blogging finesse, Tambland.

  16. Tambland says:

    Another goal called back last night because Cheechoo directed it with his skate in a distinct kicking motion. It was the only play he had, and he did well with it. Why, again, should that not be a goal?!?!?!?!?!

  17. C says:

    Just to piss you off.

  18. Burgundy says:

    Clearly that’s what the NHL is going for. They had nice timing on this too.

  19. AndrewK says:

    You know what takes more skill? Kicking a puck that needs to be redirected twice! Not like Cheech had that idea in the first place…

  20. Tambland says:

    And ‘C’ is back with the comments! Welcome back ‘C’, where have you been?

    @AndrewK- you don’t think Cheech had that in mind? Come on, this is a former Maurice Richard winner. You don’t get those kinds of accolades without superior redirection skills.

  21. Burgundy says:

    ‘C’ has been around from time to time, Mr. Tambland. In the same vein as a quiet STD or something. Just shows up every now and then… wait, is that a really terrible analogy? Sorry, ‘C’.

  22. C says:

    One day when Burgundy grows up, he’ll actually know what STD means and how to contract one.

  23. Tambland says:

    You get those from squirrels, right?

  24. Burgundy says:

    No no Tambland. I heard you can contract STDs in Tremblant when “picking chicks up”. However, I am not grown up enough (nor do I know anyone grown up enough) to actually “pick up”.

  25. C says:

    That’s because there’s a height restriction that prevented you from entering the bars.

  26. Burgundy says:

    I expected better. And more (that’s what she said). I’ll be deleting any other silly comments.

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