Smaller Goalie Gear
CHANGE The maximum width of leg pads is now 11 inches, down from 12. Stick-hand blockers are one inch shorter (down to 15 inches) and the circumference of gloves has been shrunk by three inches, to 45 inches. Goalies also have to wear jerseys that are more formfitting.
INTENDED IMPACT To give shooters a better chance of scoring and increase the chance of a rebound.
EXPERT'S TAKE Tomas Vokoun, Predators goalie "The main problem is the small glove, not from the perspective of catching the puck but holding on to it. Unless you catch the puck in the [webbing], it tends to bounce out."
More Intradivisional Play
CHANGE Division rivals will play each other eight times a season instead of six. Teams will still play four games against conference opponents outside their division. The number of interconference games drops from 18 to 10.
INTENDED IMPACT To ratchet up rivalries.
EXPERT'S TAKE Bryan Murray, Senators coach "Good for the game. You'll have a lot of conflict on the ice. As a coach you'll have more time to evaluate the performance of certain players so you can see if you need to make an adjustment in the way you forecheck or the way you play in your own end."
CHANGE A player who precedes the puck into the opposing team's defensive zone will not be ruled offsides if he returns to the blue line and makes skate contact with the line before touching the puck. Previously a player in ahead of the puck was not allowed to "tag up."