Taylor Fedun ranks as the latest victim of NHL’s archaic icing rules

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New head of discipline Brendan Shanahan faces some tough issues when it comes to revamping the NHL’s suspension systems. One of the most difficult questions to answer is: “How do you make the game safer without eliminating a necessary physical element from defensive play?”

Brendan Smith’s hit on Ben Smith earned a deserved punishment, but it at least falls under the category of normal hockey checks gone wrong. To some extent, there’s only so much the league can do unless they want the game to turn into flag football on ice.

That being said, the sport needs to give a good, long look at measures that would eliminate unnecessary risks. The clearest area is in the way the NHL officiates icing. Kurtis Foster is among the players who suffered from one of the most dangerous collisions in the sport: when an opposing player (usually a forechecking or “crashing” forward) delivers a bit hit on another player (typically a defenseman) who is about to touch the puck to earn an icing whistle.

From the looks of things, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Taylor Fedun (pictured on the left) is the latest victim of the league’s touch icing policy. Fedun was carted off on a stretcher during tonight’s preseason game against the Minnesota Wild after his skates got tangled up in Eric Nystrom’s stick, forcing Fedun to hit the boards in an awkward way. Nystrom was attempting to cancel out an icing call on the play; he received a five-minute major for boarding and game misconduct, which means he might be Shanahan’s latest disciplinary case.

Update: Fedun suffered a broken right leg from that fall, according to The Associated Press. Oilers head coach Tom Renney described it as a “complex fracture” and hinted that Fedun will be out for the season, but that’s far from an official confirmation.

There are three basic schools of though on icing calls. The first one wants the rule to stay the same, pointing out the occasionally thrilling chase for the puck. The second group would prefer “hybrid icing” which would give officials leeway to decide if a puck pursuit is merited or if the play should be whistled dead. Finally, there’s a growing legion of people who want the league to follow other levels of hockey by instituting “no-touch icing.” (Don Cherry ranks as one of that group’s most prominent members.)

Personally, I’d prefer the league to experiment with hybrid icing. If it works out well, keep it that way. If the subjectivity causes almost as many bad collisions or controversial calls, then go all the way to the no-touch rule.

Either way, the current icing setup is inching its way toward becoming an archaic – some might even ague primitive – rule. The NHL is making a lot of steps in the right direction, which just makes it that much more baffling that they’re not being more progressive with an unnecessarily dangerous part of the game that rarely ranks as anything more than a tedious, time-wasting procedure.

Kempe’s hat trick, Cammalleri’s four points power Kings over Canadiens (Video)

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Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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Leafs’ Marleau becomes 18th NHL player to reach 1,500-game milestone

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Patrick Marleau’s three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs will end two months before his 41st birthday, a summer when many believe his NHL career will come to an end.

But as he celebrated game No. 1,500 Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the veteran forward was talking about reaching another kind of milestone.

“I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” he said Wednesday morning via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I don’t know if my wife’s ready to have me at home full-time yet. If I feel good and still think I can contribute then I’ll keep it going.”

Marleau is the 18th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500 game mark. Should he stay healthy and play the entire 82-game slate or close to that, he’ll enter the 2018-19 season 11th all-time in that category. Gordie Howe holds the record with 1,767 games played.

Health has helped the 38-year-old Marleau reach the mark in his 20th NHL season. He hasn’t missed a regular game since the 2008-09 season and hasn’t played fewer than 74 games in a full season in his entire career.

Marleau has gone from being the youngest player in the league to the sixth-oldest in the span of 20 years and considering his history of good health, better fitness regiments of players and treatment by training staffs, challenging Howe may not be a crazy idea.

Of course, that is unless Jaromir Jagr sticks around. If that happens then Marleau would likely have to settle for No. 2.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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