SUN Hockey Pool

Muckler says GMs equipped

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

NHL GMs could be ready to rip up the rule book today in Detroit.

While nobody is sure when the NHL will resume play, it's safe to assume it will have a different -- possibly a much different -- look when it does return.

Senators GM John Muckler will leave today for a meeting at a Detroit hotel with his 29 counterparts and a number of players to discuss ways to make the game more exciting for the fans.

Any changes would have to be approved by the NHL's board of governors -- and that could happen during a meeting April 20 in New York -- but the GMs believe something has to be done to give people more bang for their buck.

"There has to be a change. There's no question about it," Muckler said in a conference call with Ottawa reporters yesterday. "We've got to find a way to make the game more entertaining. We have to get people thinking about offence.

"You can't have people thinking about defence all the time. We have to get more offence in the game. Something has to be done. This is going to be a good opportunity for everybody to discuss some ideas."

NHL officials met with a small group of goalies yesterday to begin discussing what changes can be made to make their equipment smaller. Today, they'll look at just about everything, including bigger nets and shootouts to break ties.

They'll also take a close look at what's happened with changes made in the AHL this season, which included limiting the area where the goalie can handle the puck and bigger blue lines for more room in the offensive zone.

WANTS SHOOTOUT

Muckler said he isn't sure if he supports making nets bigger, but he has nothing against bringing in the shootout for the sake of the fans.

"I believe we've got to bring in the shootout because the fans enjoy it and there's going to be a lot of support for it around the room from what I've heard and the games I've seen in the AHL this season," said Muckler.

"Making the nets bigger? I don't know. It's definitely something we're going to look at. It's a radical change, but maybe that's what this game needs to make it better ... a radical change. We need to do something about the size of the goaltending equipment and then we can go from there."

Not everybody wants to see the NHL go too far during the session.

"The game is going to change somewhat anyway with a new CBA coming in, so the key will be keeping an open mind," said Blues GM Larry Pleau.


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