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

3 Comments

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.