Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/12/08 at 07:11 PM ET
from Jeff Z. Klein and Lew Serviss of the New York Times,
Leetch, whose Rangers No. 2 jersey was retired to the rafters of Madison Square Garden in January, has watched the world of the defenseman change considerably from the one he knew for all but the last of his 18 seasons in the N.H.L. His final season was the first played under rules intended to eliminate obstruction and encourage offense.
Under the anti-obstruction rules, backchecking forwards can no longer slow down a forechecker after the puck is fired into the zone. As a result, when a defenseman skates back to retrieve the puck, the opposition is close behind. “You were hit a lot more,” Leetch said.
Speed, always important, is even more vital now. The ability to turn quickly from skating backward to forward “and go back and get that puck and make a play quicker is a distinct advantage now,” he said.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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