With hybrid icing being tested out during preseason, some coaches are going to find the adjustment to the potential new rule a little tricky. One coach who’s not sure what to make of it is Boston Bruins bench boss Claude Julien.
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com hears from Julien and finds the coach dealing with “mixed feelings” on the new rule.
“For coaches, I think [the hybrid icing] is a bit of a mixed feeling. We’re very supportive of it when it comes to the safety of the players,” said Claude Julien. “I think what it does sometimes is take away some of the plays [you can make]. You’ve seen us use at time before, right from inside our blue line we’d rim the puck in and had our fore check just to get the puck in deep.”
Ah, the old “safety vs. strategy” debate. Wait, that’s actually a new one.
Dumping the puck in is nothing new when it comes to strategizing the game and the Bruins can dump-and-chase with the best of them. While Julien’s team might lose out getting to do some of what they want to do, one would have to think being able to keep players off the injured list would be worth the sacrifice.
After what’s happened to Carolina’s Joni Pikanen as well as Kurtis Foster and Taylor Fedun in recent years, getting rid of the race to beat icing isn’t so bad.
While there have been plenty of rumors coming from the GM meetings in New York, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports one thing is for certain — there will be no hybrid icing in the NHL in 2012-13.
“GMs have delayed implementation of hybrid icing for next season,” he said via Twitter. “They want to see it in AHL first.”
The idea of hybrid icing — a mixture of touch and no-touch icing — gained steam back in March when the NHL GMs met in Boca Raton and recommended it go before the NHL’s Competition Committee.
More, from a Mar. 13 article at NHL.com:
“It’s easy to have these ideas and try to push them forward, but when it comes time to actually write up the rules and think of all the situations and all the scenarios that could happen on the ice, making it clear enough so that we can give our on-ice officials the proper direction, there is a lot of work to do,” [former] Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier said. “It’s going to go forward as a recommendation, but there is some cleaning up as to how exactly it is going to work and what directives we’re going to give.”
With hybrid icing, the linesman is required to make a judgment call at the faceoff dots in the offensive zone. If the forechecker is leading the race for the puck when he reaches the faceoff dots then play is allowed to continue. If the defenseman is leading the race for the puck — or if he is even with the forechecking forward at the faceoff dots — then the linesman is to blow his whistle to stop the play and immediately call icing.
As for testing hybrid icing, Kevin Allen of USA Today reported its implementation is contingent upon AHL Commissioner Dave Andrews and the AHL competition committee and board of governors.
That said, the American League has historically been cooperative in testing possible rules changes.
Although the GMs discussed a number of changes during their recent meetings, such as removing the trapezoid and the potential return of the red line, ultimately there weren’t many alterations to the game agreed upon. Capitals GM George McPhee thinks that’s because, for the most part, the general managers are happy with where the game is today.
“Sometimes you get into this mindset that there are all these things to talk about,” McPhee said. “I’ve been going to these meetings for 15 years and at some point you have to go into these meetings and say, ‘You know what? The game’s in great shape. We don’t have to do much,’ and that’s what we experienced this year.”
McPhee was in on the smaller group meeting to discuss the red line, but he feels the NHL needs two-line passes.
“It adds more creativity and speed to the game,” he said.
McPhee also thinks that strict enforcement of the rules the NHL has adopted in recent years regarding blows to the head should lead to fewer concussions. It’s worth noting that the 30 fines and 38 suspensions that Brendan Shanahan has given this season is a roughly 50% increase compared to what Colin Campbell did back in 2005-06.
The hybrid icing rule took another step towards being a part of the NHL when the GMs agreed to recommend it to the Competitions Committee in June. As we mentioned yesterday, USA Hockey has a video explaining the hybrid icing rule.
It’s worth noting that the GMs will try to eliminate the gray zones they think exists in the rule’s United States Hockey League and NCAA format before bringing it to the Committee.
“It’s easy to have these ideas and try to push them forward, but when it comes time to actually write up the rules and think of all the situations and all the scenarios that could happen on the ice, making it clear enough so that we can give our on-ice officials the proper direction, there is a lot of work to do,” Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier said. “It’s going to go forward as a recommendation, but there is some cleaning up as to how exactly it is going to work and what directives we’re going to give.”
At least two-thirds of the Competitions Committee must vote in favor of it before it can be sent to the Board of Governors. From there, the Board of Governors can chose to ratify it for next season.
According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, the one potential rule change that’s gaining the most traction today surrounds hybrid icing.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that hybrid icing is getting enough support from the GMs to bring it up for discussion to the full complement of executives tomorrow. If you want an exhaustive explanation of what goes into hybrid icing, USA Hockey has a video on it to check out. Hybrid icing is currently used in NCAA hockey and in the USHL as well.
Simplifying it, hybrid icing still allows for the chase aspect of going after the puck but eliminates the race to the end boards by judging which side wins the race by seeing who gets to the face off circle first. If the defending team wins the race, the whistle blows and the face off goes to the other end. If the attacking team wins, icing is waived off and play continues like normal.
The key to adapting this rule is to save players from getting crushed into the end boards and preventing needless injuries. From a safety aspect, it makes an obscene amount of sense to adopt this change.