NHL adopts rule changes

NEW YORK (TICKER) —The NHL Board of Governors on Wednesday adopted a series of rule changes regarding faceoffs and icing that were recommended by general managers and approved by the competition committee.

A change to Rule 76.2 will place the first faceoff of a power play in the defending zone of the team that committed the foul.

A change to Rule 81.1 states that “any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not for eliminating the opponent from playing the puck.”

The amended rule further states that “unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player.”

There was little interest around the league to adopt no-touch icing, which is used in NCAA play, but the rule change likely is in response to the broken leg suffered by Minnesota Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster on March 19, when he crashed into the boards while chasing San Jose rookie Torrey Mitchell for the puck.

In addition, a change to Rule 85.5 provides that if a puck is shot off the goal frame, goal post or crossbar, the subsequent faceoff will remain in the end zone where the puck went out of play.

In other news, the NHL approved the sale of the Edmonton Oilers to Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz and the Tampa Bay Lightning to a group of investors led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

Katz, the owner of the Rexall Drug Store chain, agreed in February to buy 100 percent of shares owned by the 34-member Edmonton Investors Group for nearly $200 million.

The group headed by Koules and Barrie also will acquire the leasing rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and nearly 5.5 acres of land adjacent to the arena.

“We are thrilled that the National Hockey League and its Governors offered its unanimous affirmation today,” said Koules, who also will serve as Tampa Bay’s governor. “Len Barrie, myself and our other partners look forward to jumping in with both feet, ensuring Tampa Bay it will have a team to be proud of on and off the ice for years to come. Additionally, we intend to focus on the 2008-09 season immediately.”

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Updated Wednesday, Jun 18, 2008