Mathieu Schneider, Ron Hainsey, Steve Fehr

NHLPA’s Schneider says ‘majority of teams’ support hybrid icing


It’s easy for league officials and GMs to say they’re on board with hybrid icing, but what about the players? NHLPA executive and former NHLer Mathieu Schneider said that most are OK with the new rule, which was officially approved on Monday.

“After testing hybrid icing during the preseason games, the players participated in a survey and a majority of teams supported this rule change in an effort to make the game safer,” Schneider said. “We are hopeful that the implementation of the hybrid icing rule, which is a middle ground between the old rule and no-touch icing, will help minimize the incidence of player injuries on icing plays.”

That doesn’t mean every player likes it.

While defenseman Marc Methot expressed relief about the alteration, plenty of others are griping. It’s not a huge surprise that aggressive forecheckers such as Jason Chimera frankly dismiss it, there are less obvious dissenters including Martin Brodeur and blueliner Duncan Keith, who shared his simple objection with the Chicago Tribune on Saturday.

“I don’t like it, to be honest with you,” Keith said. “I don’t know if it’s because everybody’s a little more confused about it or what. I’ve talked to some linesmen, too, and they don’t even like it. (The NHL) is trying to look for different ways to prevent injuries but … maybe they can try something different.”

Well, there’s always next season, as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insisted that whatever interpretation is instituted will be the status quo for 2013-14.

Whether this proves to be effective or not, the league is making some reasonable changes to promote safety, from taking visors seriously to limiting high-risk (and low-hockey-reward) races to ice the puck. As Keith said, maybe everyone will decide something different is needed.

/waits for no-touch icing to inevitably come up in debates.

Vigneault: ‘After three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention’

Alain Vigneault
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Alain Vigneault has maintained for much of the season that the New York Rangers needed to play better.

The head coach said it a week ago, after the Blueshirts had beaten the Predators, 3-0, despite getting outshot, 31-19.

He’d said it a couple of weeks before that, after they’d beaten the Hurricanes in very similar fashion. (Final score: 3-0. Shots: 33-23 for Carolina.)

But as long as the Rangers kept winning, it was tough, according to Vigneault, to get the message across.

“Sometimes, the results might be going your way, so when you’re pointing out certain things, it might be a little bit more challenging for them to understand because the results are so positive,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post.

“But after three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention.”

Derek Stepan‘s injury — he’ll miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs — has no doubt captured their attention as well. (Oscar Lindberg will center Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast tonight at home to Carolina.)

The Rangers also play Wednesday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders (on NBCSN).

Benn, Holtby and Galchenyuk are NHL’s three stars of the week

Cory Schneider, Alex Galchenyuk ,
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Stars winger Jamie Benn, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.


Benn shared the League lead in goals (4) and points (6) as the Stars (19-5-0, 38 points) won two of three games to continue their best start to a season in the franchise’s 48-year history.

Holtby posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Galchenyuk tied for first in the NHL with four goals and added one assist to help the Canadiens (18-4-3, 39 points) earn five of a possible six points and reclaim first place in the League standings.

As much as the injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher have been frustrating for the Canadiens, those are short-term issues that should be forgotten soon enough. Galchenyuk’s play, in contrast, is reason for long-term optimism. The 21-year-old is trending towards becoming the elite No. 1 center the Habs have needed so badly. He’s not there yet, but when’s all said and done, he could turn out to be the best forward (or player, period) taken in the 2012 draft.

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs


Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 28-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury