Hybrid icing appeared to be in the NHL's immediate future after Joni Pitkanen suffered a devastating injury on a fairly routine icing play. With Pitkanen's career potentially in jeopardy, the NHL has tested out hybrid icing icing during the preseason. If the test proved successful in the eyes of the league and the NHLPA, there's a possibility it would be implemented for the 2013-14 season.
Done deal, right? Not so fast. While removing a potentially dangerous aspect of the game sounds good in theory, hybrid icing presents its own set of problems. A report from Darren Dreger suggests that though the NHLPA hasn't collected opinions yet, there's enough reason to believe players will reject hybrid icing.
While hybrid icing would almost certainly cut down on injuries caused by players crashing into the boards, some players (and at least one GM) aren't in favor of giving NHL officials yet another judgment call to make.
Under hybrid icing, when a puck is iced the linesman decides if the defenseman would be the first to reach the puck based on who has the advantage near the face-off circle. Essentially, they decide based on the race to the face-off circle who would in theory reach the puck first. Considering how NHL officials notoriously make controversial judgment calls, can you see why players might be opposed to the new rule?
Dreger's report says:
While it's too soon to predict how the players will act on the matter in the days ahead, there's reason to believe they will opt to stay with status quo and reject hybrid icing.
That makes it sound like it's a closed case, but there are plenty of players supporting the idea to go along with those who oppose it.
St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz discussed hybrid icing with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
I think it makes sense. It’s a judgment call, but if it’s a tie, usually it goes to the defenseman. If it doesn’t go your way, sometimes you’re not going to be happy. But I think it’s a lot safer for everybody.
Other players, such as Washington's Jasom Chimera, are more blunt with their opinion:
#CapitalsTalk Caps LW Jason Chimera on hybrid icing: 'I hate it.' Many of his teammates agree and believe it will get voted down.
— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) September 19, 2013
It appears the idea of hybrid icing might be one of those "looks good on paper, but bad in practice" ideas. Sort of like the ridiculous tuck rule the league is trying to enforce.