Will the length of the regular season be reduced from 82 games?
No. One of the major reasons for maintaining the current length of season is that a majority of our fans have told us that they do not want a reduction in the number of games. Last November, we conducted a market survey of our fans in both Canada and the U.S. and the results showed that more fans favored maintaining an 82-game season than reducing it.
Will the playoff format be expanded to include more than 16 teams?
Will the overtime format change?
Yes. If a game is tied at the end of regulation time, the teams will play a four-on-four, sudden-death overtime period. If the game remains tied at the end of the five-minute overtime, a shootout (three shooters per team; if teams still tied after three shots, then sudden death) will be used. Our fans have told us in overwhelming numbers that they like the excitement of the four-on-four format. They have also told us that they would like to see every game produce a winner. The addition of the shootout will add to the excitement and provide a result to every game.
Is there not concern that with the expanded overtime format, games will run too long?
No. With the addition of the tag-up rule, history suggests that our games will be quicker. When the League first introduced the tag-up rule in 1986-87, the average length of our games dropped by seven minutes from two hours and 36 minutes in 1985-86 to two hours and 29 minutes in 1986-87. Our average length of game in 2003-04 was two hours and 19 minutes. So we do not expect games to run longer.
Will the League institute other rule changes to improve the quality of the game?
Yes. Over the course of the last 18 months the League has undertaken a thorough review of the one-ice product. During this time, the League spoke to its fans, players, general managers, coaches and hockey executives from throughout the hockey world to receive input on changes that could make a great game even better. The League has derived from that process a comprehensive slate of changes that we feel will enhance the product. The objectives of these new rules are: to let the skill players play; to increase the number and quality of scoring chances; to maintain the physicality of the game; to discourage the utilization of defensive-oriented "tools" in order to encourage more offense; and to provide a more entertaining product.
What will the role of the new Competition Committee be?
The Competition Committee, comprised of NHL players, general managers and owners will ensure that the game is being played in a manner that emphasizes entertainment, skill and competition.
The inaugural Competition Committee is comprised of Philadelphia Flyers Chairman Ed Snider, General Managers Bob Gainey (Montreal), Kevin Lowe (Edmonton), David Poile (Nashville) and Don Waddell (Atlanta) and players Rob Blake (Colorado), Jarome Iginla (Calgary), Trevor Linden (Vancouver) and Brendan Shanahan (Detroit). NHL Players' Association Director of Business Operations Mike Gartner also will provide input to the Committee.
The Competition Committee met for the first time on June 23 in Toronto and met as recently as this past Tuesday to finalize the new rules for the 2005-06 season.
Will the size of goaltender equipment be reduced?
Yes. The League has consulted with the NHL Players Association and the individual goaltenders over the last three months to reduce the size of goalie equipment by approximately 11 percent. It is expected that these new standards will be in effect for the start of the 2005-06 season.
Will the regular season point system change?
How will the final score of a game that goes to shootout read?
If a game is tied 3-3 after regulation and eventually goes to a shootout, the final score of the game will be 4-3 (regardless the number of goals scored in the shootout).
How will statistics from a game that goes to shootout be accounted for?
No individual statistics will be awarded from performance in a shootout (e.g. no goals - or game-winning goals - credited to scorer; no saves or goals against charged to a goaltender). Also, a goalie will not be charged with a loss to his record should he lose in overtime (this is a change from current practice) or in a shootout. Instead, such a decision would be added to the goalie's OT column (e.g. same as team standings - GP W L OT).
Will the League make any changes to officiating?
Yes. The League is going to emphasize "teams" of officials in developing game assignments over the course of the season. We expect that this will produce a better and more consistent standard of officiating in each game. The League also plans to have the officials meet with both team captains and coaches prior to each pre-season game to address any issues relating to the rules and the calling of the game.
As the NHL/IIHF agreement has been expired for a year, how will player transfers from European federations to the NHL be handled?
We have begun negotiations with the IIHF on a new agreement, and we hope to conclude that agreement in the near future.
Has the League begun negotiating a new agreement with the Canadian Hockey League?
We have begun negotiations with the CHL on a new agreement, and we hope to conclude a new agreement in the near future.
Has the 2006 All-Star Game been cancelled?
Yes. As part of the new CBA, NHL players will participate in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the League will not hold All-Star Games in those years.