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Thursday, March 10, 2005
NHL intends to adopt numerous changes

Associated Press

TORONTO -- NHL general managers will hold a two-day meeting next month in Detroit to discuss rules changes that could take effect once the lockout ends.

When the GMs from all 30 teams get together on April 7-8 they also will get an update on the status of labor talks between the NHL and the players' association. Those sides are scheduled to meet Friday for their first negotiating session since Feb. 19 -- three days after the season was canceled.

The general managers, many of whom were in New York last week for the board of governors meeting, are expected to review the new rules being used this season in the American Hockey League.

The NHL intends to adopt a number of changes, including limiting the goalie's ability to play the puck behind the net, wider blue lines, and shootouts to eliminate tie games.

All ideas for rule changes would need to be approved by the board of governors before they can be implemented. Others also will have to be approved by the players' association, particularly changes that would reduce the size of goalie equipment.

The new rules being tested by the AHL were recommended following a general managers meeting in February 2004.

The NHL is hoping to have an agreement in place with the players' association in time to hold the draft on time in June. Once that occurs, the order of picks will have to be determined. Normally, the order is determined by the previous season's standings, but last month the NHL became the first major sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

The Washington Capitals selected Alexander Ovechkin with the No. 1 pick last season. This year's top prize is expected to be Canadian phenom Sidney Crosby.