Seeing as I am a die-hard hockey fan who has watched and played the game for many, many years, the proposed rule changes/tweaks as noted in the Boston Globe article, will only be of some benefit. I make such a statement as instituting some sort of challenge for coaches to use would be helpful in getting a call right. I would have to say that they have missed the boat entirely with regard to deliberately skipping over that a challenge could look at goalie interference. I am a hockey goalie, guilty as charged, but it is so very easy for a ref to miss some contact by a player onto the goalie, when, for example, there is a shot from the blue line. Sure there is a ref in the neutral zone to watch for that but he would is way out there. Finally, it is pure lip-service for them to say they will clamp down on diving by first sending a letter and then an automatic $1,000 fine. Seriously? Depending on the player, that could work out to one shift on the ice. If I was in charge and a player had blatantly dived to draw a penalty, I would suspend the player a few games and drop a hefty fine on the player, citing conduct unbecoming of the integrity of the game.
It is a step in the right direction as for the most part these rule changes help improve the game of hockey. If these rule changes were bad ideas then they would not get the support from the Competition Committee. I think they improve the game every year with these changes.
In the NHL they allow to much fighting to go on, and that is not a fighting sport, so anything that is changing to go in the positive light is a very good direction. It's enough going on out here in the world that can change, and a right step in the right direction is a great start.
No, the NHL's proposed rules changes are not a step in the right direction, because there are not big problems now. The NHL is trying to fix something that is not broken, just for the sake of appearing modern and making changes. There are not large goal disputes. There is no reason to undertake drastic changes. Hockey is popular as it is.
The main problem with most NHL penalties is that there's so much ambiguity that the refs are often unable to apply the same judgement on each case of infraction. This leaves fans to feel that the refs are often unfair.
For example, look at the rules change to Rule 41 – boarding will now be called anytime a player “checks or pushes a defenseless player” in a way that makes him collide dangerously with the boards. So, the onus is on the player laying the hit to avoid or minimize contact in these situations. All a player has to do is "Sell" his attempt to turn away from the boards and avoid contact. The best "salesmen" will be those folks who avoid the sin bin, but end up being the leagues worst offenders.