Ex-NHLer Mike Johnson Speaks Up: Gary Bettman and the NHL Should Be Listening to the Creative New Rules He Has Proposed

Published September 2, 2023 at 10:57 PM

Every year, the NHL convenes its board of governors to discuss potential rule changes to the League. Of course, many are focused on player safety, however, some rules are tweaked in order to improve the game for players and viewers.

Johnson's Shopping List of Changes

Recently on the NHL network, former NHLer Mike Johnson discussed some major rule changes that he hopes to see. He started off looking at hand passes.

"From now on going forward, we're going to allow hand passes from every player in every zone," said Johnson. "There's no reason why a defensive team if the puck's in there I can grab it and give it and break it out, but as an offensive player I can't. Why would I not have the same rules for the offensive team as the defensive team?"

The rule proposal makes sense, and Johnson did stipulate that players wouldn't be able to pick the puck off the ice to do so, though you can see the difficulty that might arise from trying to determine if a player lifted the puck off the ice or not.

Kicking Counts?

Johnson didn't stop there. He went on to call for a revision to the kicked-in goal prohibition:

"The other... any goal off a skate counts," said Johnson. "Here's my safety amendment.... except in the blue paint."

He also wanted to see another change to the way high sticks are called when scoring a goal:

"There is no high stick rules for goals," added Johnson. "People don't swing their stick at pucks, and if they do and they hit you in the head, you go to the box and you don't get to come out when they score two goals."

There are some obvious safety concerns with both proposals and even though Johnson offers his kicking safety amendment, it still wouldn't prevent players from kicking at the puck when close to opponents outside of the blue paint. The high stick revision makes sense as well, but it would certainly promote more stick swinging that Johnson says doesn't occur.

Either way, it is refreshing to see Johnson come up with interesting ways to improve the game. More improvements are always needed to keep the game fun to watch.

As seen on Hockey Feed "Former NHLer Mike Johnson proposes some big rule changes."
September 2   |   56 answers
Ex-NHLer Mike Johnson Speaks Up: Gary Bettman and the NHL Should Be Listening to the Creative New Rules He Has Proposed

Which rule do you want to see the NHL change?

Kicked in Puck1323.2 %
High Stick712.5 %
Hand Pass1730.4 %
Other1933.9 %
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