The Research and Development Camp for the NHL is coming up in mid-August. The NHL brings out some of the top junior players to test out some of the crazy schemes that the NHL has to offer. We remember last year's R&D camp that provided bigger blue lines, hybrid icings, and a giant Cyclops face-off circle in the attacking zone.
As this is a giant gimmick blog, I have wondered what attempts could have been made for this year's R&D camp that didn't quite make the cut. There is some truth to the rumor that most of these ideas are from the Face Off Hockey Show tirades over the past decade.
The Doubler Puck: Popularized by the old MTV Rock N' Jock series of games, the Doubler Puck would be used by a team that's down late in the game and need to take a risk for these games. Of course, the adverse effect would be the team who wanted the Doubler Puck would be down in the hole if they get scored on-- but it's a risk you have to take. The NHL denied it because it would inflate some of the statistics, even though the ratings for the games would spike during those times.
Behind-the-Net Ramps: Another bit taken from TV, the Pro Beach Hockey on ESPN had ramps behind the net to create new plays and to keep the players from stopping and stalling behind the net. While the NHL liked the continuous playing idea, the brass didn't enjoy the idea of constant stoppages from the net being off their moorings because of players not having the momentum to make it around the ramp behind the net. Plus, ice makers have said they'd go on strike and owners wouldn't want to kill the behind-the-net seating since those are primo dollars.
The Three-Way Dance: To keep some costs down for the lower level teams, the idea of having three-teams played at once was pitched. This was immediately shutdown due to the rink being not only overly cluttered, but other owners claiming they would be getting shutout of revenue by missing a home game because of it. However, it would provide more bang for the buck for those there.
The Run-In Rule: While this would only be instituted during the playoff race late in the year, the run-in rule would allow rival teams who are battling for those valuable playoff spots to come out onto the ice late into a crucial period of the game to switch the momentum of the game and reek havoc on their opponents. For example-- if the Flyers were playing the Rangers late in the season and the game was tied; both battling for a playoff spot-- you could see two member of the Hurricanes come running onto the ice and create havoc for both teams, possibly costing them valuable points in the end. Somewhere, Vince McMahon is reading this and smiling.
Speaking of McMahon, he could use these all for his XHL that he'll get started when he realizes there's a market for something like this to rival the NHL and create the extreme side of things. Yes, these are silly-- but it's oddly not out of place for the R&D side of things, so it's not too far fetched in the end.