*Somewhere in a rink in the near future*
Play By Play Man: Faceoff in the Team Blue zone, here’s the draw and Jones scores!!! takes advantage of the new middle faceoff dot scoring right off the draw to make it a 4-2 game
Middle faceoff dot? You may be wondering what’s going on but this a return of one the NHL’s coolest ideas, The Research, Development and Orientation Camp, only this time, it’s coming out from the shadows of closed off rinks and onto your television sets, live.
From 2010 to 2011 the NHL tinkered with various rule changes and held scrimmage games with prospects before the draft, rules ranged from one faceoff dot in front of the nets to playing with bigger nets, to minor penalties being served in their entirety no matter how many times the team on the power-play scored.
The camps were fun, unique but they were always held behind closed doors with the only footage coming after the camp was done(does anyone know why they were stopped in the first place)? How much fun would it be if one, not only we do it again, but two, make them public and three, get the entire hockey world involved in shaping the look of the future NHL?
To make things family and TV-friendly, turn this into a tournament of four teams of the top 60 draft eligible prospects. In a perfect world, this camp takes place after the Memorial Cup and Frozen Four held either in Toronto or in the city where the Draft is being held that summer and let fans purchase tickets to the Dev camp games.
The other leagues in the Big Four of North American sport have some kind of offseason on playing surface content to keep their fans hooked, the NFL has the combine, the NBA has the summer league, the diehards of baseball can tune into the Arizona Fall League. The NHL should be giving their consumers another chance to watch on ice action even if two points are not on the line.
With the number of rule changes and tweaks in a camp like this, heck why not even let fans suggest some rules or vote on what they like or don’t like via social media for one of the games? Truly let the people coming to this have some input on the NHL of tomorrow.
Is two on two overtime or no offsides for the entire game intriguing? Vote on it via a Twitter poll, the winning option gets used in one of the games with whatever other rule(s) the league wants to attempt.
(Want to bring back a 2nd line inside the net to confirm a goal? Colored mesh? Using Twitter could make it happen at Dev Camp 2.0)
The players should also have a say in this because they’ll be the ones actually going out and one day playing in this new league, after each game, interview the players after each scrimmage to get a feel of what it’s like adapting to a new environment. Yes, we can suggest and tinker with rules but we’re not the ones who have to go out on the ice and have a career on it, their voices must carry weight too.
The evolution of the NHL should involve everyone, not just the dudes in the Armani suits.