The NLL has announced a number of rule changes going into effect for the 2016 season. The list is here and none of them is hugely significant (though I suppose by definition they are technically all game-changers) but I’ll go over what I think are the more interesting ones.
Rule 28.1: Injured goalie
If the trainer comes out to tend to the ‘tender and he stays more than 50 seconds, the goalie must be replaced. This was 45 seconds last year. The extra five seconds was worthy of a rule change?
Last year, if the chin cup was not properly worn and secured, the player would be removed from the floor. A second violation would get you a delay of game minor penalty. This year, you get the minor penalty right away. Interesting that this rule goes into effect right after the retirement of John Tavares, who was notorious for not wearing his chin cup or leaving it loose.
Rule 44.4: Contesting the ball on the face-off
If a player grabs the ball in the back of his stick during the face-off, he must immediately flip it to the front of this stick or get it to a teammate (“move, rake, or direct it”) before taking more than one step or the other team gets possession. You could call this the Geoff Snider rule but as of this writing, Snider is not on any NLL roster. Plus I believe there was a face-off change made a few years ago that was informally called the Geoff Snider rule though I don’t remember the details.
They tried something like this last year during the pre-season but that rule said that the player couldn’t leave the playoff circle without having the ball in the front of his stick. They dropped the rule before the season started.
Rule 57: Criteria for stoppage of play on a delayed penalty
The only change to this rule is the removal of a clause. In 2016, if the ref has called a delayed penalty and the offensive team pulls their goalie, a loose ball that crosses back over the centerline and rolls towards the open net will not cause a whistle, i.e. the resulting goal will count. I don’t know how often this happens but I suspect it ain’t much.
Rule 63: Illegal cross-checking
A player who cross-checks someone lying down on the turf will get a penalty, whether or not the guy on the floor has the ball.
Rule 67.6: Shooter in crease prior to ball crossing goal line
An oddly specific clause has been added which says that if an attacker shoots and the ball hits the goalie and then a defender and then goes into the net, this will count as a goal as long as the shooter is out of the crease by the time the ball completely crosses the goal line. It sounds like such a goal was waved off last year and someone got angry about it.
Rule 67.9: Contact by a defender
They’ve rewritten this rule entirely (all two sentences of it) to make it clearer. If an offensive player is checked legally into the crease before the ball goes in the net, the goal does not count. If an offensive player is checked illegally into the crease, the defender will get a delayed penalty and if the ball goes in, the goal counts (assuming no other rule violations).
Rule 67.12: No re-entry by ball
If a defender outside the crease gains possession of a ball that’s inside the crease, that defender can now step into the crease as long as the ball wasn’t directed or passed to him by a teammate.