NHL Board Approves Minor Rules Changes

The Associated Press
Thursday, September 14, 2006; 6:35 PM

CHICAGO -- NHL players will be allowed to use stick blades that are curved three-quarters of an inch _ a quarter-inch more than last season _ under a series of minor rules changes approved Thursday by the league's board of governors.

During regulation time or overtime but not shootouts, a player found to have a stick curved in excess of three-quarters of an inch will be assessed a minor penalty and a $200 fine for the first offense. A second offense in the same season will be accompanied by a minor penalty, plus a fine of $1,000. A third offense will result in a game misconduct penalty and an automatic one-game suspension. The suspension will double in length for any subsequent violation.

During shootouts, an opposing team may request the measurement of a shooter's stick prior to the shooter's attempt. If the stick is found to be legal, the complaining team will forfeit its next shootout attempt and the player listed for the challenging club's next attempt will not be permitted to participate until all other eligible players have participated. The team will be fined $5,000 and the coach will be fined $1,000. If the stick is illegal, the offending player will become ineligible to participate in the shootout and the club will forfeit that shootout attempt. The team will be fined $5,000 and the player will be fined $1,000.

The board also approved enhanced measures against diving and embellishment of actions in the attempt to draw a penalty. The first such infraction will result in a warning letter being sent to the player. A second infraction will be accompanied by a $1,000 fine. A third infraction will result in a telephone hearing with the Director of Hockey Operations and a possible one-game suspension. The length of the suspension will double for any subsequent violation.

The board also approved a rule change that will give the home team the choice of shooting first or second in a shootout.

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