Yesterday, we discussed many of the numerous changes being kicked around by the NHL GM’s and coaches in regards to what should and shouldn’t be instituted in the upcoming season of NHL hockey. Some of the other changes that we did not hit on will be covered in this article including hybrid icing, clear strips between the top of the net and the actual netting (also running along the bottom for more puck visibility) and of course the infamous Plexi-glass stanchions that have drawn more attention after the Pacioretty/Chara incident.
First off, hybrid icing is an in-between stance that employs both the NHL form of icing alongside the European/NCAA form of no-touch icing. Hybrid icing involves a decision by the linesman to call a no-touch icing if the opposing player has no way possible to catch up to the other player and touch up for icing. But if the players are in close proximity and have an equal shot at getting to the puck, the linesman can allow the play to continue and see which side touches the puck first. When a player ices the puck in the NHL right now, it becomes a foot race for both sides to beat out the icing call. This has lead to numerous injuries in the clamoring for the puck and it also hurts the team towards the end of the game if they pull their goaltender and have to chase down the puck which kills off more time for them to take advantage of the extra attacker.
The sentiment towards hybrid icing is 50/50 both for and against. While many feel this will help to alleviate the instance of on-ice injuries, most think it’ll be just as bad and worse yet at the discretion of the linesman. The upside is that it’ll be less taxing on the players to skate hard all the way down to the ice and allow more time to be taken advantage of when the goaltender is pulled.
Hybrid Icing – POSITIVE – While many might disagree with me, I have seen the Predators come back in too many games with a man down to force overtime. The extra time that hybrid icing would allow would benefit the Predators immensely. Also, on the injury front, I believe we lost both Goc and Bouillon last year due to hits while scrambling to touch up for icing.
The Thin Clear Line
Some have indicated that a small clear strip between the crossbar and the netting and running clear plastic striping around the bottom of the net would allow for better video reviews and help the referees make the judgment call while the game is happening.
Clear plastic strip – POSITIVE – Along side the green line to determine if the puck crosses the goal line, this will help by leaps and bounds the video review. As for the Predators, we had goals go both ways last year and any help to the on-ice or off-ice officials in reviewing goals is a big plus for the NHL.
In another matter: delay of game penalties. That is one rule change I would like to see amended. Teams should be given a warning on the first occurrence and if it happens again, then penalize the team with a delay of game minor. Most of the time, it is not a player intentionally trying to clear the puck over the glass for a stoppage in play. It is normally a mistake or a bad clear of the blade of the stick that ramps up and over the glass. Teams should have one “get out of jail free” card for the up and over the glass infraction. On the second one…levy the fine and send the player to the box to feel shame.