This year the "third man" in a fight, the player who turns a simple one-on-one tussle into a major brawl, will be given a game-misconduct penalty. The second anti-brawl rule pertains to mass charges from the bench. Now the first identifiable player to leave his bench and join a fight on the ice will be given a game-misconduct penalty plus a five-minute major. Remember, five-minute majors must be served in their entirety, even if the team with the man advantage scores 10 goals.
The season offers one more significant new wrinkle: the league has junked the old 1-3, 2-4 match-ups in the first round of the Stanley Cup and instead will try a 1-4, 2-3 arrangement. This is to discourage any inclination to drop a position at season's end in order to draw a weaker cup opponent, as Minnesota was accused of doing last spring. After the first round, the winners of the two 1-4 series will cross divisional lines and play the winners of the 2-3 series.
So the game should be richer this season for everyone—players and fans alike. Will anybody be poorer? Well, don't be surprised if Montreal guns down Boston's triggermen for first place in the East. Chicago, meanwhile, might win in the West by Christmas.