The rules of icing in the NHL are getting a makeover.
General manager's around the league will move forward with a recommended rule change to change to hybrid icing next season. The recommendation will go to the league's Competition Committee in June. A two-thirds majority from the committee must approve the recommendation before the league can institute the new rule.
Hybrid icing requires a linesman to make a judgment call at the offensive zone faceoff dots. If a defenseman is leading the race for the puck, the play is whistled dead and icing is called. If the forechecker is leading the race, then play will be allowed to continue. If both players are even, the linesman will stop the play and icing will be called.
The change is being recommended to reduce the potential for injury. In today's game, the players can race for the puck, with the offending team needing to beat the other players to the puck to negate icing.
Recent injuries helped usher the change. Former Devil Kurtis Foster broke his femur while playing for Minnesota in 2008 after crashing into the end boards chasing down a puck for icing. Edmonton's Taylor Fedun was also injured in a similar play during the preseason.
New Jersey Devils defenseman Mark Fayne said he agreed with the change.
"I think it would be good," he told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "I know there are a few times when you are racing back for the puck and you get a little tripped up and hit the boards hard or you just collide with the other guy when you're not meaning to just because you're both trying to get there. I guess it would be like lacrosse where it's just to the dots. So, it seems like a good idea."
But some, like Matt Taormina, want the general manager's to work out initial flaws.
"I think there could be some controversy," he told Gulitti. "There has been some in college with players thinking they won the race and then letting up."
The general managers have said they'll look to clear any discrepancy before sending the recommendation to the league's Competition Committee.
They also decided to take out the "attainable pass" clause in icing. Under the current rules, an official can wave off icing if he rules a teammate made an "attainable pass." But, with that varying among referees, the general managers will send the recommendation to remove that clause.
General managers also want to add a ringette to offensive zone faceoff dots in the American Hockey League next season. There had been talk that some general managers wanted to re-install the red line, which was taken out after the lockout to increase offense. The ringette would require defensemen to skate the puck to one of the dots before passing up the ice.
They will not send that recommendation to the Competition Committee for review for next season.