Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bettman Says NHL Done with Changes, for Now

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bettman Says NHL Done with Changes, for Now

Article excerpt

DALLAS -- After years of tinkering with the crease rule, how overtime is played and even its standings, the NHL doesn't anticipate any significant rules changes for next season.

Last year, only two days after Dallas' Brett Hull won the Stanley Cup with an overtime goal that counted even though his skate was in the crease, the NHL threw out the rule that previously disallowed such goals.

"Change sometimes creates confusion," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday as the Stars and Devils prepared to play Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, which was not completed for this edition. "We're going to try to go into next season without any rules changes. The general managers have told us they like the way the game is played today."

The league has explored how to make its standings less confusing, mostly to eliminate or clarify the "RT" category for regulation ties. Teams receive a point for tying after three periods, with the 4-on-4 overtime winner, if there is one, receiving an extra point.

Because a team can lose a game but still get a point, the "RT" category was added to denote overtime losses. However, the extra column baffled some fans, especially when teams below .500 but with a large number of regulation ties jumped ahead of teams with records above .500.

"We went to the general managers with six possible ways to do the standings, but some of them looked at it the way it is and said, 'Maybe this is the best way after all,"' Bettman said.

With Columbus and Minnesota joining as the league's 29th and 30th franchises this fall, Bettman expects no further expansion in the near future. The league has jumped from 21 teams to 30 in about a decade.

That means Houston and Portland, which badly want an NHL franchises for their existing arenas, can enter the league only through relocation of an existing team. …

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