The league had discussed allowing wild-card teams to be seeded ahead of the division winner with the third- or fourth-best record, if they had a better record. But the proposal did not go to a formal vote because a show of hands made it clear it didn't have the required 24 "yes" votes to pass. The issue might be raised again in May.
Among the rules that passed:
The force-out rule was eliminated, meaning a player who catches a ball must have both feet (or another body part) in bounds.
Teams winning the coin toss now can defer a decision until the second half.
Instant replay was expanded to include review of field goals.
Snaps untouched by a player in position to receive a hand-to-hand snap will no longer be a false start, and either team may recover and advance the ball.
Incidental grasp and release of the facemask, which was a 5-yard penalty, will no longer be penalized.
Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, and Chicago beat visiting Detroit 6-2. The Red Wings need just one point in their final two games to secure home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Earthquakes signed former Santa Clara star Eric Denton to a contract. The defender has played 160 games in MLS, starting with D.C. United in 2000. He didn't play last season. San Jose opens its season against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy today in Carson (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.).
Andy Roddick, who'll play Roger Federer tonight, is lone remaining American in the men's draw of the Sony Ericsson Open after James Blake lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in Key Biscayne, Fla. Jelena Jankovic reached the women's semifinals when Elena Dementieva retired with a back injury trailing 6-3, 3-1, and Vera Zvonareva beat Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-4.
Liam Tancock set a world record in the 50-meter backstroke at the British championships in Sheffield. He finished in 24.47 seconds in the non-Olympic event.
Suzuki's Mat Mladin dominated testing for the second straight day at the 12-turn, 2.22-mile Infineon Raceway. The AMA Superbike Showdown is May 16-18 at the Sonoma track.