As things stand right now, explaining icing to someone at their first hockey game is already somewhat of an arduous task. Don’t get me wrong – I have no idea why it’s so hard to grasp the concept (maybe I’m just a poor explainer-guy), but apparently it is.
Well good. trucking. luck. explaining it to someone after the NHL approves hybrid icing.
But obviously “ease of explanation” is not the important thing. I’m in favour of the introduction of hybrid icing – just because something is (seems?) complicated doesn’t mean we should scrap it.
There have been a few reports out of the GM meetings in Boca Raton that this could be introduced as soon as next season.
NHL.com’s Dan Rosen…
Hybrid icing getting support from a lot of GMs this year. Not much talk on red line today.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) March 12, 2012
…and TSN.ca are among them:
After hearing a presentation from disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on player safety issues, the GMs broke into smaller groups to examine rule change proposals.
A new hybrid icing rule and eliminating hand passes in the defensive zone were both met with support from the seven GMs who discussed them.
For a rule recommendation to be made to the competition committee, at least 20 GMs must be in favour of it.
Hybrid icing is already used in NCAA hockey and the USHL. It’s not perfect, but holy crap is it safer. It eliminates the big collisions at the end boards that occur when two players rush to be the first to touch a puck (which has caused two broken femurs over the past few seasons).
When two players are rushing back and the rule is hybrid icing, the ref has until the face-off dots to use his discretion as to who would touch the puck first if he allowed the play to continue. If it’s clearly going to be the defender, icing. If it’s going to be close, icing. If the offensive player has the best chance to cleanly gain possession first, no icing.
And it’s not a race to the dots – that’d be an odd game-within-the-game. It’s all about that refs discretion. Maybe the forward is behind the defender, but because the puck is wrapping around the boards left-to-right, and the defender is on the left while the forward is on the right, the forward has the best chance to touch it first….no icing. Maybe the forwad and d-man get to the dots at the same time, but the forward has way more speed…no icing.
It’s the refs job to make that determination, and in doing it by the face-off dots, you don’t end up with a potentially dangerous situation near the boards.
It has its flaws in that there’s the potential for human error, but when your current flaw is “possible snapped thigh bones,” it might be time to lean towards a slightly less dangerous “worst-case scenario.”
If you hate yourself and like suffering, or want to learn more about the rule, “enjoy” this video for a thooorrroouuuggghhh explanation.
(s/t to Pro Hockey Talk for the video link)