The 2007 NLL season will bring a rule change when it starts this December. More specifically, the change concerns the rule that makes scoring from behind the net illegal. Starting this year players will be able to be positioned behind the net and have any goals they score count. The potential this rule has on the total scores versus the safety to the goalies seems to be a point of contention between lacrosse fans and players.
According to the 2006 official NLL rule book, if a shot:
is taken from behind the goal by an attacking player which strikes or rebounds off the goalie or defender into the net, the goal will be disallowed
In order for the goal to count the attacking player would have to have both feet in front of the goal line when making the shot. From what I understand this rule was implemented when Paul and Gary Gait were playing and continued to use the “Air Gait”, a move where they would jump from behind the net and reach their stick behind the goalie to score, similar to a slam dunk.
I’m not entirely sure how long the rule has been in effect but one concern among former and current lacrosse net-minders is crease crashing and creative shots from behind the goal line. This could be a safety issue for goalies if players start to bounce shots off their heads in order to get a favourable rebound into the net. It becomes especially dangerous because while goalies have neck protectors on the front of their helmets there isn’t anything to protect the back of their necks from a hit from behind. Given the fact that there is very little protection for our spines at the back of our necks you can imagine the potential damage.
On the other hand, in comparison to field lacrosse, there is very little room behind the goal line. Attacking players won’t be able to build up as much speed or generate shots as hard as if they were in front of it. I’m not really sure we’ll see much of this type of goal scoring during the 2007 season. Mostly because of the timing, the rule change happening so close to the start of the season doesn’t give players much time to practice their moves in that area.