So many things stay the same from season to season.  Let’s take a look at things that are brand new for the 2010-11 NHL season.

New Rules: Believe it or not, up until this season goalies had the choice of whether or not to wear face protection.  This one was long overdue.  Not that anyone was crazy enough to go without a face shield, but until 2010 they had that choice.

Masks – Protective masks of a design approved by the League may must be worn by goalkeepers. Protective masks deemed to be worn only to increase stopping area will be considered illegal.

Other rule changes include the new ‘check to the head rule’ which doles out harsh penalties for head shots.  Also, now a shootout win will not be counted as a W for tie-breaker purposes.  Shootout wins will still be awarded 2 points in the standings.

New Players: Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers and Tyler Seguin of The Bruins will attempt to dazzle us with their offensive skills.  Skills they have been sharpening in small Canadian towns during their dominating stints in Canadian Juniors.

Players we’ll miss: I won’t miss Darcy Tucker, but for the first time in 15 years he won’t be there giving cheap shots after the whistle and barking at opposing benches thru half a full set of teeth and a face that forever begged for a fresh shave.  Scott Niedermayer will be missed sincerely.  He was an amazing player and he finally retired for good this off-season.

New Arena Name: Due to the economic meltdown, the Wachovia Center in Philly is now called The Wells Fargo Center.

New Arena: Now we can blow up the Igloo for real.  Not like was initially threatened in the film ‘Sudden Death’ starring Jean Claude Van Damme.  The Pens move into their brand spanking new Arena, The Consol Energy Center.  ...And by energy we unfortunately mean oil.

Player with NEW team: For the first time since 1988, Mike Modano will not wear a star on his sweater.  Splitting time between the Minnesota North Stars and the Dallas Stars, Modano turned retirement into a new career era with the Detroit Red Wings.  There must be some kind of Hockey Fountain of Youth in Detroit.

What’s New for The Sabres?

The Jerseys!  Hooray, the slug is dead!  The Sabres new sweaters, which are actually the old logo, are a welcome change from 3 years with the ill-conceived slug.

What I HOPE is new in 2010-11

The Stanley Cup in Buffalo. That’d be new!