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02-10-2004, 04:05 PM
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GM Meetings and the rule changes

GM's to reccomend big changes

Canadian Press


HENDERSON, Nev. (CP) - In what could turn out to be an historic day in NHL history, the league's 30 general managers agreed to several rule changes Tuesday that may drastically change the way the game is played.

``A couple of these differences will make a major difference to the way the game is played,'' New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury said as the day-long meeting ended.

Among the changes the GMs will recommend:

- Goalies can no longer handle the puck behind the back-end red line (behind the net);

- The width of goalie pads will be reduced to 10 inches from the current limit of 12 inches;

- The nets will brought back to 10 feet from the back boards from the current 13 feet;

- The tag-up offsides will be brought back;

- AHL will try out three points being awarded for a victory in regulation time with NHL possibly going to that format in 2005-06 if it works well in the minors; that would also include two points for an overtime win, it may also include two points for a penalty shootout win.

``Yes, it is quite a bit,'' said Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford.

The GMs' suggestions this week will be further re-examined this summer by a blue-ribbon panel of hockey experts including coaches, players, media and some GMs.

Then the end package must be approved by the league's owners at a Board of Governors' meeting in late summer.

Legendary coach Scotty Bowman took part in the decision-making Tuesday.

``They're asking me as a coach what I would do in certain situations and since I'm not active anymore I can give an unbiased opinion on that,'' Bowman said.

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