YASHIN: THERE'S A PREMIUM ON THE POWER PLAY
On a conference call with the media and other important players from the Atlantic Division, Islanders center Alexei Yashin said he was looking forward to the potential for increased offense as a result of the new rule changes in the NHL. -- espcially on the power play.
"Special teams have always been one of the most important aspects of hockey, but it's now going to be more important than ever," said Yashin. "If they call it consistently from beginning to end like they say they are, there will be extra value to a good power play."
Yashin was joined on the call by Martin Brodeur of the Devils, Steve Rucchin of the Rangers, Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi and Flyers center Keith Primeau. About the power play, Rucchin said, "I agree with Alexei. The one thing I can add is that I think the teams that have their special teams ready to go from opening night will have an opportunity to get a great jump out of the gate."
Of all the changes in the NHL, the one move in which the five players were unanimous in their praise was the new schedule.
"Awesome," said Brodeur. "I always wondered why we had these teams come from all over the west. It was a lot of travel for them and didn't have a positive effect on our attendance. Now we get a lot of the Islanders, Rangers and Devils, plus my kids are really excited about seeing Sidney Crosby four times. I think it was a great idea."
Other notable comments from the media call:
Yashin on the elimination of the red line: "When I played in Europe, the other teams patrolled the blue line and tried to stop your speed in the neutral zone. Teams may still trap, but it will be different." Recchi added, "The successful teams will be the ones that really forecheck hard and create offensive plays."
Brodeur on the goalie stickhandling rules: "I wasn't thrilled about it because it's a skill I worked on my whole life, but my feeling is that everyone -- the coaches, players and the fans -- need to give the new rules a chance. The better goaltenders will make the adjustment. Now that the red line is gone, we'll be able to make longer passes, which is fine with me."
Rucchin on Brian Burke, Scott Niedermayer and the new-look Mighty Ducks: "I was really excited...for about a week."