It's good to see one of my favorite spectator sports on TV again. (It's purely a spectator sport for me, I can't skate.) I'd gripe about greedy players and owners but I've pretty much given up on going to games a few years ago.
I want to make a few comments on some of the new rules:
Losing the redline and allowing passes from inside the blue line to center ice: A rule that makes sense and promotes a more free and faster-paced game.
Limited equipment and padding on goalies: This rule also promotes a faster games. Goalies were able to practically cover the entire net making goals almost impossible to get from a good shot. Goal scoring was getting ugly where it required big men up front to get rebounds and knock out defenders. If Wayne Gretzky had come up in 2000 instead of 1980, I doubt he would have been nearly the player he was as the NHL got big and slow. The new rule promotes more athletic goaltenders.
Shootouts in the event of a tie: I've got several issues with this one. First of all, the other rules should open up a faster, more wide open game. Breakaways should be more common than before so there is no need to have this. Also, teams with the better pure scorers are apt to sit on a tie in the third period so they can have their chance to win in the overtime shootout, thus, slowing down the game. Finally, a shootout is just plain not hockey.
My solution? How about having a 15 min sudden-death overtime period. If someone scores, they win. If the game is still tied after 15 min. both teams lose. Think, maybe we'd see some exciting action in overtime with this rule in place? I do.