Visors to be Grandfathered in Next Season, Other Rule Changes Proposed

The NHL made significant news Tuesday when it announced the League and NHLPA agreed to grandfather visors starting in the 2013-14 season. Any current NHL player having played 26 games or more (regular season or playoffs) is allowed to choose to wear a visor. Any incoming player is required to wear a visor, although juniors and college mandate all players to wear facial equipment to begin with.

- This is news long overdue. You can point to pride, stubbornness, failure to evolve etc., but enforcing some type of mandate for players needing to wear visors was necessary. As was the case with helmets back in 1980.

- No doubt the gruesome injury to Marc Staal and his slowed recovery prompted some within the NHLPA to finally say enough is enough.

Visors were not the only change announced Tuesday.

Hybrid icing will be tested out during the preseason and, if all goes well, may be implemented as early as next season as well. The NHL and the NHLPA also announced a joint committee would be formed next week to study possible changes to equipment for skaters and goalies.

- Enough of walking on egg shells: just make it no-touch icing and eliminate the unnecessary penalties/injuries that come from a race to negate icing.

Finally, the nets may be seeing a makeover. Shallower nets will be tested out during the preseason. Here's a preview of the new dimensions:

All of these rule changes aren't finalized: they had to be approved by the Board of Govenors.

- The idea of shallower nets will be to open up play behind the net, allowing for a puckhandler to have some freedom to make plays. I'm all for it.

- Overall I like where the new rule changes are going. I'm all for opening up the offense but maintaining the integrity of hockey at the same time. What's not mentioned here is 4-minute high sticking penalties may be reviewable going forward, opening up more video replay possibilities which is no doubt a step in the right direction.

- Next rule change: getting rid of the delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass. GOODBYE PLEASE>

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About James Wrabel, Jr.