Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/02/05 at 09:38 AM ET
Slowly but surely, the National Hockey League's players appear to be getting accustomed to the game's new philosophy. They're not fully there yet, and that's why the level of scoring has yet to rise appreciably. In a performance that is fairly typical of the pre-season, the Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings hooked up in a 4-1 affair to close out the pre-season last night, with the Leafs getting the edge over the Wings for the second night in succession. At the moment, dealing with the new rules is taking precedence over actually using the new rules, and as a result, the free-flowing game has not resulted in a scoring increase. But more and more, the players are starting to feel comfortable with the new philosophy and they're starting to learn what they can do. For one thing, they're going to the net more. In the old NHL, that area was sacred territory and trespassing was definitely a threat to good health. But now, the larger players, like the Leafs' Nik Antropov, can plant themselves in that area and give the defenders a problem.
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