Just because Wayne Gretzky laced up his skates in an alumni game over the weekend doesnt mean the NHL is back to the 1980s.It just feels like it.Goals are coming fast and furious through the first two weeks of the season, with scoring at a pace that hasnt been seen in over a decade. Players are scoring an average of 5.98 goals a game, a far cry from the offense-happy days of Gretzky but an increase so far from every other year since 2005-06 when new rules were designed to boost scoring.An influx of young players, the preseason World Cup of Hockey and more backup goaltenders playing because of injuries have kept red lights flashing around the league.Overall, the game is going younger, faster, more skill, so I think everything kind of combines and goes into it, Arizona Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata said. I think the penalties are called more now than late in the season last year. Thats normal, so you probably have more power-play goals. And you have all the guys who played at the World Cup, theyre in their midseason form already where normally it would take them a couple games to get going.The NHL, hoping to keep its fans entertained, has tried many things to get scoring up, from shrinking goaltending equipment to adopting 3-on-3 overtime. Yet goals have hovered around 5.3 per game over the past five years.The jump early this season has as much to do with young talent like Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews as anything else.McDavid and Matthews lead a wave of 16 teenagers in the NHL right now, players who dazzle with flashy moves and who sometimes arent afraid to take a risk and maybe turn the puck over. As hockey trends more toward speed and skill, the game becomes more unpredictable and coaches gain more gray hair.You have more skill players in the league, too, so theyre not as conscious with puck management, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. You talk to the coaches probably around the league that might be as much as anything, and (players are) finding the back of the net on those.Coyotes coach Dave Tippett joked that its a Team North America mentality, referencing the 23-and-under World Cup group that thrived playing end-to-end, fast-paced games and scored at a blistering pace. Beyond just Team North America, the World Cup got many of the leagues elite up to speed to start the year, and Philadelphia forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare believes he and the other 168 players who took part are already in December form.It definitely helps, Flyers teammate Sean Couturier said. I think guys have been in game situations at such a high pace, high level for a month and a half before the season actually started.Eight of the top nine scorers so far this season played in the World Cup, and surprise standout Richard Panik benefited from so many Chicago Blackhawks players being away by making the most of extra ice time in preseason. The Blackhawks are also doing their part to contribute to the goal fest by allowing a league-high 14 of the 138 power-play goals scored through Wednesday.Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters thinks power-play units are ahead of penalty kills and that five-on-five play is looser than usual.Loose play plus a lot of backup goaltenders in the nets is a recipe for offense. Through 97 games, 61 different goalies have started at least once, compared with 85 in 1,230 games last season.Thats in part a product of injuries to starters like the Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick, Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask and Arizonas Mike Smith and also the compressed schedule forced because of the World Cup. Each team will have a five-day bye week in January or February.Im sure because we have a lot of back to backs and we have the bye week -- the games are probably compressed a little bit more together than its been in the last (few) years, Capitals backup goalie Philipp Grubauer said. If youre good and play good and get the right numbers and win the games, Im sure (backups) will get a few more starts.Backups will continue to play, but many around the NHL expect production to slide back to normal as the season wears on. So enjoy the throwback scoring while it lasts.I think things will tighten up as we go, Peters said. But its been enjoyable for the fans.---AP Freelancers Matt Carlson in Chicago, Denis Gorman in New York and Paul Gereffi in Sunrise, Florida, contributed.---Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno Nike Air Max Ireland . Perez, 35, posted a 1-2 record with a 3.69 earned-run average in 19 relief appearances last season. His season ended Aug. 9 due to a torn ligament in his left elbow. Perez joins infielder Andy LaRoche and catcher Mike Nickeas with minor-league agreements for 2014 that include invitations to attend spring training. Cheap Air Max 90 Ireland . -- Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings was selected Monday to his second straight Pro Bowl, while guard Kyle Long made it after a solid rookie season. http://www.airmaxonline-ie.com/ . Artturi Lehkonen, Joni Nikko and Ville Leskinen had the other goals for Finland (1-0) while Juuse Saros stopped 28 shots. Tim Robin Johnsgard had the lone goal for Norway (0-2). Nike Air Max Trainers Sale . Vokoun departed practice on Saturday morning after discovering swelling in his thigh. He was taken to a local hospital where the clot was revealed. The club announced the surgery following a 5-3 exhibition loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nike Air Max 2018 . -- Derrick Rose shook off poor shooting early to hit clutch shots late and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 104-95 preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. NEW YORK -- The NBA is making tremendous progress toward avoiding any possibility of a work stoppage -- with an assist from Michael Jordan.While Adam Silver cautioned that a deal is not done-done yet, the commissioner optimistically reported that the NBA and the Players Association are closing in on an extension for the collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires in June 2021 but both sides have until Dec. 15 to opt out in 2017.That sounds as if it wont be necessary, in part due to the cooperation between Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, with help from Jordans clutch touch -- this time as owner of the Charlotte Hornets.Let me just single out one owner in particular, Michael Jordan, Silver said during his upbeat update on CBA negotiations this week following the Board of Governors meetings in Manhattan.I think having Michael Jordan as part of our negotiating committee, the unique perspective he brings to the bargaining table because of his playing career, having been, of course, a superstar player. Now for players to see him in that position, it doesnt mean that if Michael says it, it necessarily means that they accept that as the position they should take. But I think thats really added a special element unique to this league.As a player, Jordan once famously snapped at former Washington Wizards?owner Abe Pollin during a 1998-99 labor meeting between players and owners when talks were contentious.Now as an owner, Jordans influence on the players is positive for the NBA, according to Silver.I think [Jordans presence], that added an enormous amount to the atmosphere in the room, Silver said.Before this current CBA, previous negotiations led to a five-month work stoppage that shortened the 2011-12 season by 16 games. But there is strong incentive for both owneers and players to continue the current healthy state of affairs with contracts and TV money at unprecedented levels.ddddddddddddWe dont want to strike and they dont want to strike, the Knicks Carmelo Anthony, who serves on the unions executive committee, said recently. So the best thing to do is really figure it out sooner rather than later.I think [in the 2011 negotiation] we were so far away from each other, Anthony later added. You can feel the difference, you can see the difference, you can see the reaction, you can see the contact were having, the information thats being sent on both sides. I think were closer to getting something done. Hopefully itll get done soon.Silver credited the players who are most involved with the Players Association, from Chris Paul, president of the union, to LeBron James, Anthony, James Jones and Kyle Korver.But Silver said the tone of negotiations has been better than in the past in large part due to his working relationship thus far with Roberts.Micheles word is we both agreed to be adults in this process, Silver said. ... There hasnt been agreement on everything. I think theres been a healthy back and forth, but I think its begun from a basis of trust. I credit Michele Roberts enormously with coming in with that perspective, with being very professional about how she and her colleagues and the players went about this negotiation.Were on our way toward getting an extension done of this collective bargaining agreement, and Im very pleased to report that, Silver noted. Hopefully we will be back to all of you in the not-too-distant future to say that negotiations have been completed, but were not quite there yet. But I continue to be optimistic. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '