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Kings reign among goal-scoring D

How much do defensemen help the offensive cause? ESPN.com looks inside the numbers.

Updated: November 14, 2002, 2:31 PM ET
ESPN.com

The NHL's crackdown on obstruction, personnel and coaching philosophies all play a part in defensemen jumping into the play.

While the rule mandates have opened up the ice for everyone, it remains a double-edged sword for blueliners. This year, should a defenseman venture farther into the offensive zone, he's now able to retreat enencumbered. However, if the puck is turned over in dangerous territory -- say, a rebound high into the slot -- a defenseman (or a covering forward) isn't able ...

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