NHL full of changes
There will be changes in the game on the ice as well as realignment and a new playoff format when the NHL starts the 2013-14 season. Here are the highlights:
"When you look, I think you can see there's a lot more room back there," Patrick Marleau said. "It'll probably work out to be a little more offense from that, but I think you've still got to look at making the goalie equipment a lot smaller."
But Sharks goalie Antti Niemi didn't sound too concerned, saying the offensive advantages were somewhat offset by the fact the puck would bounce differently off the back base of the net, throwing off attacking forwards.
"It's exactly the same thing otherwise," Niemi said. "You've just got to be careful about the five hole."
Still, Niemi didn't seem worried about a slighty larger gap between the top of his leg pads when he goes down to block a shot in the butterfly position.
The league experimented with the hybrid system during the exhibition season, and it was adopted after a vote of the players Monday.
Sharks were divided on the change. While Dan Boyle welcomed it, fellow defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said there was confusion over when the puck still had to be played and that increased, not decreased, risk.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan gave two reasons that he hopes players follow this rule.
"When you sit for seven minutes, that's almost half a period," he said. "But it's also common sense. We don't need a bunch of guys taking their helmets off and smashing their heads."
Visors are also now required for players who have less than 25 games experience in the NHL, but there is no longer an additional penalty for instigating a fight while wearing a visor.
No jerseys tucked into hip pads, something that would not have sat well with Wayne Gretzky in his playing days. All jersey sleeves must extend into the cuff of the glove. No unapproved T-shirts showing at the collar. That kind of thing.
"The jersey thing? That's one that's going to take getting used to," defenseman Scott Hannan said. "Guys get comfortable in their gear, but it is what it is."