After a year long lockout, the NHL is back on ice in 2005 with new rules, a new superstar and supposedly a much better brand of hockey. Check out this 2005 National Hockey League season preview.
2005 NHL Preview - New Rule Changes
The NHL has introduced several new changes for the 2005-2006 season in an attempt to make the games faster and more exciting.
Rink Dimensions - The offensive zones have been increased, which should result in more goals, especially on power plays.
More Flow - Passes from behind the defensive blue line to the attacking blue line will be considered legal. Red line no longer used for "two line passes." This should result in more end to end passing and more offensive chances.
Goalie Gear - Goalies will no longer be able to wear massive goalie gear that make them look like Transformers. Goalies will have to wear smaller pads, gloves and jerseys.
Shootouts - All games that are tied after overtime will be settled with a shootout, in which three players from each team with take alternating penalty shots against the opposing goaltender. The team that scores the most goals in the shootout wins the game.
2005 NHL Preview - New Superstars?
There will be a few new superstars to watch when the puck drops on the 2005 NHL Season - but none of them have as much hype as Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Will hockey's next superstar live up to the hype? Well, he looked decent in the pre-season playing on a line with Mario Lemieux - but putting up numbers during the long grind of the regular season could be a different story. Other new stars to watch out for in 2005 are Corey Perry of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
Calgary Flames - The Flames came within a goal of winning the Cup in 2004 and they should be even better this year with this addition of new players including forward Tony Amonte and defenceman, Roman Hamrlik.
Ottawa Senators - With a rock-solid defence and tons of talent up front, the Sens are favorites to win the Eastern Conference. Their goaltending, in the aging form of 40 year-old Dominik Hasek, is questionable, and this team has yet to go far in the playoffs.
Philadelphia Flyers - The Flyers added to their already potent lineup by signing Peter Forsberg and getting rid of the loud-mouthed and concussion-proneJeremy Roenick. With the addition of young stars, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, look for Philly to be flying high when the playoffs start.
Tampa Bay Lightning - They may have lost starting goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin, but the Lighting are still the defending champs and have a good shot at hoisting the Cup again in 2006. With Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, the Lighting will have no problems scoring goals. The big question: will new number one goalie, John Grahame, keep enough pucks out?
Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks have basically the same team that won the Northwest Division two years ago, so they're a favorite to win the Western Conference. They have plenty of scoring touch with their top line of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison. Their big question marks are depth on defence and whether Dan Cloutier can give them strong goaltending in the playoffs.
Are you excited about the return of the NHL? Or did you even miss it last year? Who do you think's gonna win the Stanley Cup in 2005? and predictions to Kidzworld.