Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/23/05 at 02:10 PM ET
What a big happy family that was at Gary Bettman's nationally televised press conference in a New York City hotel yesterday. Announcing the new six-year contract agreement ending the war year and sending the National Hockey League into a new Ice Age, they might as well have had a summer picnic on the beach, basking on chaise lounges in the sun. The way in which Bettman, NHL Vice President Colin Campbell and veteran player Brendan Shanahan were so upbeat about the future promised for the 2005-06 season and beyond, they must have had lobster rolls and watermelon for lunch. The new-look NHL will no longer have games that end in a tie. Five-minute regular-season overtimes that are still deadlocked will be determined by a shootout among three players apiece on each team. The center-ice red line has been eliminated, encouraging what Shanahan called "home-run passes." Goalie equipment has been reduced in size. Nets will be moved back two feet closer to the end-boards, opening a bit more room from the blue lines. And thank goodness, the idea of a proposed five rounds of playoffs with 20 teams making the post season has been postponed indefinitely.
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