CHANGE The tie is dead! If games are deadlocked after regulation, teams will play five minutes of four-on-four sudden-death overtime. If the game is still tied, a shootout begins in which three skaters on each team take alternating penalty shots. Still tied? The teams trade penalty shots until there's a winner. (A losing team will get a point if the loss comes in overtime or in the shootout.)
INTENDED IMPACT To entertain fans.
EXPERTS' TAKES Luc Robitaille, Kings forward (left) "The goalie has the advantage because by the time the shootout happens, the ice will be real bad. The puck starts bouncing. It eliminates some of the moves you make normally." Martin Biron, Sabres goalie "You have to focus hard on the first shooter, because what happens there will give you an edge, or put you behind, the rest of the way."
CHANGE The 200-by-85-foot ice sheet has not been altered, but the neutral zone has gotten four feet shorter, the offensive zones four feet longer and the area behind each net two feet shorter (see measurements above).
INTENDED IMPACT That the larger attacking zone will lead to more goals.
EXPERT'S TAKE Wayne Gretzky, Coyotes coach "The net being moved back allows an offensive player to move from the end boards to the front of the net quicker, and that's going to create more opportunities. Faster guys are really going to have success. Slower guys can still play, but they're going to have to be smarter. A [big, slow] guy like Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher is going to be successful, because he's smart enough to find angles and he can reach."
CHANGE Players can now pass from behind their own blue line to a teammate who is beyond the red line at center ice. (The two-line pass was previously illegal.) The red line will remain on the ice but only to determine when an offensive player has iced the puck.