All too often in the NHL have players been hurt on icing plays where a defenseman and forward are skating stride for stride at full capacity in order to touch the puck before the other. The onus lies on the forward who could absolutely punish the d-man into the boards behind the goal line. The NHL has done a good job in enforcing this safety issue and has led to still good competition for the puck behind the goal line on touch icings but still the issue remains for that one case. On the other hand skaters having to go back and touch the puck to get a whistle wastes valuable seconds off the clock and is essentially a waste of what could be almost half a minute of play during a game that spectators who are paying large sums of money are essentially seeing nothing happen.
Lets look at the different types of icing. Keep in mind these are simple definitions and there are circumstances when an icing can be waved off by the linesman.
Touch Icing: The defending player must touch the puck before any opposing player to complete the icing call. In place in the NHL and AHL.
Hybrid Icing: Play is stopped immediately if the player on the opposing team reaches the faceoff dot first, instead of skating all the way across the goal line to touch the puck. In place in the NCAA.
Automatic Icing: Play is blown dead immediately once the puck crosses the goal line. In place in USA Hockey.
I believe that the NHL needs to go to hybrid icing just as the Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher suggests. If you need a reason why check out the video below of Kurtis Foster breaking his femur on a touch icing play. Add a comment below to agree or disagree.
My name is Nick Penberthy and am the Founder of the Tim Hortons Backyard Classic. Now after 5 years of running the THBYC we have raised over $30,000 for Hasek's Heroes.