A new NHL rule means that if the players are using awnings to protect themselves from the ice or to protect their bodies, they will no longer be considered a penalty when it comes to the penalty kill.
This rule was introduced in 2014 and was meant to allow for the more effective use of forecheckers and to limit penalties to situations where there is a threat of a shot being blocked.
But, according to ESPN’s Corey Pronman, it has the unintended consequence of making forecheck and penalty killing less effective when teams are shorthanded.
“The more you are shorthopped, the less effective the penalty is going to be,” Pronm said on the ESPN Sportscast.
“It means more penalties, which makes you look more bad.”
The change in the rule means a player will now be awarded a penalty for a missed check on a defender that would normally be a penalty in a shorthanded game.
Instead of being awarded a major penalty in such situations, it is a minor penalty that can only be assessed when a player is shorthanded and there is an on-ice incident.
Pronmeister explained that this could cause teams to make more aggressive plays in the offensive zone, which could lead to penalties.
“If you are a little too aggressive with your forecheck, that could create an opportunity for you to be on the penalty box, and you end up being a little bit more penalized than you might be if you were playing with a little more leeway,” Pons said.
“When it comes down to it, a forecheck can be effective, but it can also be ineffective.”
Pronmen also noted that there has been a decline in the percentage of players getting a penalty since the rule was instituted.
“In other words, if you’re a player that’s in the penalty killing role and you’re in the right spot, a penalty is not a big deal, but if you are in the wrong spot, it can be a real concern,” he said.