UPDATE: NHLPA Approves Hybrid Icing for 2013-14

On Monday night, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly went on NHL Network and announced that the NHLPA had attained enough votes to go ahead with "hybrid icing" and implement the rule for the 2013-14 season.

Daly on the rule change:
"We think ultimately the managers believe it's a safety issue and it makes the game safer for the players and we think it's important."

He went on to say that he thinks there will be an "adjustment" period, but as preseason wore on he noticed a "progression in the linesmen's comfort level," and consistency with those calls will be "very, very important for the rule to be effective."

Daly's interview can be seen here.

It'll be interesting to see if and how hybrid icing shakes up offensive and defensive strategies in the same way removing the "two-line pass" rule was part of the NHL's attempt at getting the neutral zone trap out of the game after the 2004-05 lockout.

In my humble opinion, teams that like to dump and chase will have a more difficult adjustment to the new rule since attacking forwards will have less time and space to beat out a defenseman to negate an icing; perhaps increasing the effectiveness of the "1-3-1" trap that became famous after Tampa Bay did this against Philadelphia in a game 2 years ago.

If the Rangers are going to become more of a puck possession team under Alain Vigneault and less of a dump and chase team when Tom Renney and John Tortorella were Ranger coaches, this rule has to favor them, right?

Original Post: 9/29/13 11:00 AM

As you may have noticed, the NHL has been experimenting with hybrid icing during the preseason. The rule that was approved last June during GM meetings, is a stiff reaction by the league in regards to Joni Pitkanen's severe and possibly career-ending foot injury that was sustained during an April 2013 game vs. the Washington Capitals as seen here.

League wide reaction to the possible rule change has been extremely mixed. Detractors such as Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of northjersey.com that he's against hybrid icing because…

"I don’t like the idea that it’s another judgment call when we’ve had something exact. I do know that we all have to look at safety, but I think that our players have learned how to turn and not turn and we can solve the whole problem by taking the trapezoid out and making it a lot easier, but I just don’t like the idea that it’s another judgment call.”

Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera is also against the rule change, per this tweet from Chuck Gormley of CSN-Washington DC.

On the flip side of the argument, there are players who would like to see the rule enforced, namely Rangers defensemen Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto who told Blueshirts United they would be in favor of a rule change.

Del Zotto:
“I think for the defensemen, it’s nice to not have a guy right on your back. It’s dangerous for us. It’s something everyone has to get used to.”

Staal takes it even a step further saying he would be in favor of a no-touch icing rule that's enforced in the Canadian Junior Leagues.

“I’d rather have them just blow it down. I don’t even want to race to the dot, The defenseman going full speed to the end boards with a guy on your back, you know you’re going to get hit. It just doesn’t make sense anymore.”

The NHLPA began voting on hybrid icing on Thursday and is expected to give the league results of the survey on Monday.

It's no surprise given Staal's laundry list of recent injuries that haven't allowed him to play the full 82 games since 09-10, that he would be in favor of any change that could allow him to stay on the ice and out of a trainers room in arenas around the NHL.

I want to hear from our readers about what they think. Hybrid icing: Love it? Hate it? Does it need more time for experimentation? Let's hear your opinions in the comments below.

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