NHL looks to build on its successful post-lockout return

Updated: September 23, 2006, 4:56 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

A year ago, there was giddy anticipation at the return of hockey after a labor dispute scuttled the entire 2004-05 season.

That enthusiasm, shot through with anxiety about what the game would look like and how fans would respond, was rewarded with a return that can best be described as stunning.

In spite of dire predictions, new rules and unprecedented levels of enforcement on existing rules saw goal-scoring jump 18 percent from the 2003-04 season, the largest jump in offense ...

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