The Hurried Man’s Guide to the Hockey Season
- Adam Weinberg
Hockey (or as they call it in Canada, hockey) is back.
Maybe you’ve noticed.
More than likely you haven’t.
So perhaps you could use a little refresher on what’s changed since the last time you caught a game.
Herewith: a primer on all that’s new with the rules, the league, the teams and, of course, the fighting.
1. New divisions. Realignment. There’s nothing sexier than realignment. We assume that’s why the NHL decided to shuffle all 30 teams into four unevenly split divisions—the Pacific, the Central, the Atlantic and... the Metropolitan. In case it’s not obvious, Detroit is in the Atlantic.
2. No tucking. In hockey, you get penalties for things like charging and slashing and cross-checking and spearing and, new this year, tucking in your jersey. The Great One disapproves.
3. There’ll be a February vacation. The NHL is sending its stars to compete in the Olympics next year (probably for the last time). Which means they’ll put the regular season on pause for nearly an entire month while we all busy ourselves with watching the Winter Games/rooting vehemently against Russia.
4. Feistier coaches. Remember Patrick Roy? Hall of Famer. Stanley Cup winner. Unstable human being. Well, he’s the coach of the Colorado Avalanche now. And this was how his first game went.
5. Re: icing. So, get this. The NHL is instituting a new hybrid icing rule this season where the nearest linesman to the puck can blow the play dead if he determines that the puck will cross the far goal line and the defending player is not behind in a race to the end zone face-off dots in his own defensive zone.
Blink twice if you’re still conscious.
6. As for fighting... Still a thing. Except now the league forbids players from taking off their helmets when engaging in a fight. Yeah, it’s awkward.