October 5, 2005 – How will the NHL woo its fans back after a one-season hiatus? With revamped rules designed to cleanse the game of hooking, holding and interference, the 2005-06 season, which kicks off Wednesday, promises to be the most exciting ever.
“Will the new rules for a ‘new’ NHL, and a promise of fan-friendly entertainment be enough to win back the hearts of sports fans?” asks Calvin Ayre, Founder and CEO of bodoglife.com. “The implementation of these new rules may be just what the NHL needs to lure fans, and allow it to regain a noticeable foothold in the lucrative U.S. market.”
Attempting to overcome the dwindling popularity of the game, the NHL has added some drastic changes to the way it is played. The most radical change will be the implementation of the “shootout”. If no victor is decided after 60 minutes of regular play and five minutes of sudden-death overtime, there will a shootout, which will ultimately produce a clear winner.
The NHL looks to some of its biggest names to bring the game back into the limelight. Joining Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins is 18-year-old prodigy Sidney Crosby, who laces up for his professional debut against the New Jersey Devils in Wednesday night’s season opener. bodoglife.com has listed a proposition wager on whether Crosby will skate away with the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, Crosby is not new to the spotlight. The hockey sensation from Nova Scotia has been on the pro scout radar for years. As a 16-year-old, he helped Team Canada to a silver medal in the 2004 World Junior Championship, a tournament for players 20 and under. This year, Canada won gold with Crosby in the lineup.
Crosby has been compared to superstar Wayne Gretzky and is often likened to Lemieux. The phenom’s scoring stats from his junior career are second only to Lemieux’s.
As Crosby aims to establish himself on the ice, “The Great One” will look to get comfortable behind the bench. After successfully leading Team Canada to Olympic gold as a general manager, Gretzky takes over as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes – a team he co-owns – and will aim to add to a career of unparalleled success in the hockey world.
Looking to bet on Gretzky’s success? bodoglife.com bookmakers have listed a line on whether “No. 99” will win the first game of his coaching career. The Coyotes visit the Vancouver Canucks, and the current odds show Gretzky’s chance of victory at -195. Will Gretzky coach his team to a .500 record during the season? It’s a toss up with odds showing -125 for both “Yes” and “No”.
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