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NHL tries to win back fans with rule changes

Published: October 7, 2005
Section: Sports


Well folks, the lockouts over, the owners won but the game itself suffered a major defeat. Having been surpassed by NASCAR and the MLS gaining popularity, the NHL has its work cut out to regain public attention. They wont get that help from ESPN;

theyll be relying on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN). Maybe theyll trot out Lance Armstrong on skates to boost ratings if desperation calls.

In an effort to win back the fans, there have been some rule changes:
1. The center line was removed, which means there can be two-line passes which means more chances of fast-breaks.
2. Officials promise to be diligent about obstruction calls, and hopefully they mean it this time. This change will hopefully end the trap system, speed the game up, and it puts notorious grabbers like the New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild on the spot.
3. Goalies are no longer allowed to touch the puck outside of a trapezoidal area behind the net. Presumably, this makes the players play for the puck.
Those are some of the many changes;

now without further ado, I present to you my projections for the

2005-06 NHL season.
Predictions:

Rookie of the Year: Alexander Ovechkin (hometown bias, Sidney Crosby could dominate or an outsider like Jeff Carter or Hannu Toivonen could swoop in)

Vezina Trophy: Roberto Luongo (with his defense, if the Panthers have a winning season, hell deserve it)

Hart Trophy: Danny Heatley (with the change of scenery, hell be lighting it up in Ottawa)

Norris Trophy: Scott Niedermeyer (playing with brother in Anaheim should invigorate him, Brian Rafalski of the Devils could come into play here)

Stanley Cup Champs: Philadelphia Flyers (If Forsberg goes down, the prediction shifts to the Calgary Flames)