2005_10_snhllogo.jpgFans will be able to watch hockey again tonight for the first time in sixteen months as every team in the National Hockey League takes to the ice. Before turning on the game, it might be a good idea to review some of the multiple rule changes that will be in place for the 2005-2006 season.

As for the local teams, expect a decent year from the Devils. They lost Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens, which will hurt, but still have Martin Brodeur and Scott Gomez and Patrik Elias should be back in November. The Islanders are counting on a big season in net from Rick DiPietro and scoring from Miroslav Satan and their new captain, Alexei Yashin.

As for the Rangers this season will be different in that they no longer have an astronomical payroll, but similar in that they are going to be bad. Jaromir Jagr should benefit from the opening of the ice, but the Rangers defense is suspect and goaltender Kevin Weeks is inconsistent. General Manager Glen Sather doesn’t seem to have a clear rebuilding plan as he has added a number of veterans to a club that should really just start over with a full-blown youth movement. Perhaps Jagr will be traded midseason to obtain the prospects they desperately need to become competitive again.

It all starts tonight with the Rangers facing the Flyers on the Outdoor Life Network at 7pm, the Islanders facing the Sabres at 7pm on MSG and the Devils facing the Penguins at 7:30pm on FSNY