Well... the preseason ones anyways. 16 on tap this weekend alone including the Battle of Alberta. WOOHOO! Hey, these games are important, more important than most years (stop your snickering). There's A TON of new stuff to be worked out by everybody and not much time to do it. This preseason the officials, the teams, the players even the fans all have a unprecedented amount of change to deal with before the pucks drop for real Oct. 5th.
With three games Friday, six Saturday and seven Sunday, fans will receive their first opportunity to view a game that has been redesigned through reduction of the size of goalie equipment, an overtime shootout and aggressive rules enforcement. In theory, the league will no longer allow players without the puck to be impeded as they gain speed in the neutral zone, and there are even restrictions on how defenders deal with a puck carrier.So with all these hockey "cultural" changes needing to take place quickly these preseason games will be very important. Maybe even entertaining. Definetly worth keeping your eye on.
"It's not just the players' culture and coaches' culture that needs to change," said Stephen Walkom, the league's director of officiating. "It's the officiating culture as well because accepted practices in the past will no longer be accepted."