In the annual nipping and tucking designed to showcase its splendid game—a campaign against hooking and holding here, more space behind the net there—the NHL has taken the ultimate step in hockey beautification: the Pedi-Cure. There will be no more unsightly toes in the crease spoiling otherwise perfectly good goals, no more inflexible policy barring offensive players from the crease. The decision on whether a goal will stand (137 were called back last season) no longer rests with an anonymous video-replay official in the rafters but instead with the referee, the sole judge in determining goaltender interference. The NHL also has tarted up its game by instituting four-on-four play in the five-minute overtime designed to reduce the number of ties. At the same time, the losing team in sudden death will now get a point in the standings.
Expect the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks to make their mark in the standings with both clubs moving toward the top of the Western Conference while the Boston Bruins rise in the East. But the Dallas Stars and the Detroit Red Wings remain the NHL's elite. We like Dallas, by a toe.
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