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Player numbers will be added to helmets to help identify NHLers

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Baseball players don’t require their athletes to have their number on their helmet when they step into the batter’s box. Basketball doesn’t require players to tattoo their number on their forehead; they don’t need numbers on their headbands either. The NFL doesn’t require their teams to put player numbers on the front of helmets—although some teams rock the numbers as a fashion statement (we’re looking at you Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Football Giants). But the NHL doesn’t care about any of that noise. They’re setting their own trend and requiring NHL teams to add numbers to the front of all players’ helmets before the beginning of the regular season.

Who says the NHL isn’t a trailblazing league?

In a series of tweets, NHL Senior Manager of Communication Schuyler Baehman explained the new, required look for all 30 teams:

“Player numbers will be added to the front forehead (centered) location of all player helmets at the start of this season. Front numbers are not required to be placed on goaltenders headgear. Numbers on the front and back of helmets will measure no less than 1.25” and no more than 2” in height.”

Yahoo’s Puck Daddy has a preview of the new look.

Following the tweets that described the new numbers that will be required for the beginning of the regular season, Baehman explained the rationale for the new numbers:

“The new number placement is designed to aid on-ice officials, broadcasters, et al. by providing an additional point of player identification.”

Maybe numbers on the top of Wayne Simmonds helmet would have helped officials decipher the words that were coming out of his mouth?

Not all change is bad—there have been plenty of changes over the short preseason for the upcoming year. But what is the point of dropping the numbers onto the helmets? Broadcasters have seemed to be doing just fine figuring out which player is which on the ice for the last fifty years and on-ice officials do a pretty good job figuring out which player belongs in the penalty box. Is there another reason for making the change?

In a day and age that every single potential change is discussed and debated, it’s interesting that this move is coming out only eight days before the beginning of the regular season. In the grand scheme of things, the new numbers will affect equipment managers around the league than anyone else.

If nothing else, at least we’ll have yet new change to look forward to this season. Now if they could just change home teams back to wearing white, then we might be onto something.

Video: On Hockey Day in America, Auston Matthews did this . . .

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.

Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.

On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.

As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.

Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages

Video: After a slow start, Evander Kane is on a roll for the Sabres

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For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.

Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.

He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.

(Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)

Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Sharks

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Dominic Moore #28 of the Boston Bruins defends Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period at TD Garden on February 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins are back from their bye week, looking to continue a three-game winning streak since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach from Claude Julien.

The Bruins can extend their streak Sunday, when they visit the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

The NHL’s bye week experiment is still a work in progress

Pre-game reading: Are the Bruins and Avalanche on verge of trade?

Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions

Video: Trouba called for a hit to the head on Stone

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Jacob Trouba could be getting a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone.

The incident occurred during the third period of Sunday’s game, as Stone was passing the puck after he entered the zone. Trouba stepped up and delivered a high hit, resulting in only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Stone, who dealt with a concussion that was reported in September, remained down on the ice before eventually going to the dressing room.

As you can see from the video, Senators coach Guy Boucher was furious officials on the ice decided this was only worth a minor for Trouba.