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Breaking Down the Rules of the NHL


The NHL schedule is packed with exciting matchups and intense moments, but to fully understand and appreciate the game, it’s important to know the rules that govern the sport. This article breaks down the National Hockey League’s key rules and explains how they impact the game.


One of the most important rules in hockey is offsides. This rule states that a player cannot cross the opposing team’s blue line into the offensive zone until the puck has entered the zone. If a player does cross the blue line before the puck, it’s called offsides and play is stopped. This rule helps keep the game flow intact and ensures players don’t gain an unfair advantage.


Another important rule in the NHL is icing. This occurs when a player shoots the puck from his own half of the ice, past the opposing team’s goal line, without the puck being touched by a player on either team. When icing is called, play stops, and a faceoff occurs in the offending team’s defensive zone. This rule helps prevent teams from dumping the puck down the ice to save time and prevent their opponents from attacking.


Penalties play a major role in the NHL and can significantly impact the outcome of a game. The league has many different types of penalties, including slashing, hooking, tripping, and roughing. If a player commits a penalty, they must serve time in the penalty box, leaving their team short-handed for the penalty duration. This can give the opposing team an advantage, so players must be careful not to commit penalties that could hurt their team.

Overtime and Shootouts

If a game is tied after regulation time, it goes into overtime. In the regular season, overtime is played in a five-minute, three-on-three format, with the first team to score winning the game. If no one scores in overtime, the game goes to a shootout, where three players from each team take turns trying to score on the opposing goaltender. The team with the most goals after three rounds wins the game. This format adds an exciting element to the game and keeps fans on the edge of their seats.

Video Review

With the increasing use of technology in sports, the NHL has introduced video reviews to help referees make more accurate decisions. This allows referees to review plays on a monitor to determine whether a goal should be disallowed or a penalty should be called. Video review has proven to be a valuable tool in ensuring that the right calls are made and has helped improve the game’s overall quality.

While watching stops on your television, you can see all of this. Make sure you subscribe to a premium satellite TV service to enjoy excellent quality. You can explore options like DIRECTV and several others. 

The rules of the NHL play a crucial role in the sport, determining the flow of the game, the outcome of contests, and the excitement of each matchup. From offsides and icing to penalties and overtime/shootouts, understanding the rules of the NHL is key to truly appreciating the sport. So the next time you tune in to an NHL game, keep these rules in mind and see how they impact the action on the ice.

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