NHL to implement hybrid icing next season if trial period goes well


Hybrid icing — a mixture of touch and no-touch icing that gives discretion to linesmen — could be implemented for the 2013-14 NHL season.

On Wednesday, NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider told reporters if the preseason hybrid icing test goes well, the league is prepared to implement it for regular season play.

This marks the first significant development from the current GM Meetings in Boston.

While this is a big step forward for the hybrid icing movement,  it appears several issues still need to be worked out — specifically, how it’ll be officiated.

Courtesy NHL.com, here’s the official explanation of the rule:

Hybrid icing is a mixture of touch and no-touch icing. It gives a linesman the discretion to blow his whistle and stop the play if he believes a defending player will reach the puck first.

If the linesman believes the attacking player has a chance to reach the puck first, he keeps his whistle in his pocket and lets the race to the puck play out.

The linesman always will side with the defending player and blow his whistle if he feels the race is a tie by the time the players reach the faceoff dots.

It may not end up being “just [a] race to the dot,” as per Yahoo’s Nick Cotsonika. There’s also some question as to how much discretion linesmen will have when it comes to blowing whistles.

As for the timing of possible implementation, NHLPA board will vote on hybrid icing towards the end of the 2013 exhibition campaign.

If it passes, it then goes to the NHL Board of Governors. If that passes, hybrid icing is in for 2013-14.

As for other developments from the meeting:

— To nobody’s surprise, GM’s approved mandatory visors for players coming into the league.

— Diving/embellishment was discussed. The plan is to keep working on solutions (Schneider said it was tough to legislate because of all the “gray” area).

— The possibility of posting diving offenders’ names in dressing rooms was brought up.

— Sub-committees for equipment regulation are still a few weeks away from being formed.

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

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Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”


Daly said that he’d be surprised  “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”

As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.

For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.

The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?

At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”

Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.