It seems as if referees and hockey organizations are having
a tough time reducing penalties at the minor hockey level. Nothing that
has been tried so far has worked. Penalties are a part of the game, and
with the development of excellent defensive skills and systems, coupled
with the fact that referees are reluctant to call penalties against a team
that is already short-handed, a penalty really doesn't have much of an
impact on hockey games today.
Sure it is more difficult to cover the attacking team, but as soon as
the defending team gets the puck it is shot down the ice and the pressure
if off. The unfortunate thing is that one person on the line has to sit
out during a penalty, while the penalized person usually sits out two
minutes and never misses a shift.
Penalty killing has become a well developed skill with most teams
today. It is not uncommon to find that teams are able to successfully kill
off 8 or 9 out of every 10 powerplay situations.
Therefore, in order to make players think twice about taking penalties,
I would like to suggest that we don't force a team to play shorthanded
upon an infraction. We can still make the player sit in the penalty box
for the full two minutes, but it is not necessary to force the team to
play shorthanded. Instead, how about awarding a penalty shot every third
penalty? This would certainly make teams play much more carefully after
the 2nd penalty. It would mean that more goals would be scored as a result
of penalties and in the case of scrums in front of the net, a team
receiving three penalties on the same stoppage of play would suffer a
penalty shot immediately. Five minute penalties could result in an
immediate penalty shot. In order to avoid a team using penalties in the
dying minutes of the game, the short-handed rule could be implemented
during the last ten minutes of each game.
Everything else has failed...why not give this one a try?