“Hybrid Icing” And “Keep Your Helmet On” Rules Are Ineffective

Posted: October 4, 2013 in HOCKEY
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jason Head_Shot[1]

By Jason Sutcliffe

Some of the rule changes in the NHL this year are just ridiculous and lack insight into the game. The two that stick out for me is the new “hybrid-icing” rule and the “keep your helmet on” rule in regards to fighting.

The hybrid-icing rule is just ridiculous, and how they believe that it will effectively reduce the amount of injuries is mind-boggling. Simply put the rule says that if the defending player is clearly winning the race for the puck icing will be automatically called, but if the race is close or the offensive player is ahead than they will let it go.

This makes absolutely no sense. How will injuries be prevented if icing is not waved off during a close race for the puck? Those are situations where career or season ending injuries happen. The only thing that this rule efficiently does is save the defencemen from having to skate back and touch the puck when there is no race for it.

If it is truly the NHL’s objective to remove these types of injuries from the game than they should have implemented the “no touch-icing” rule that would make a lot more sense. Where the play would be blown dead as soon as the puck crossed the red line. I am not saying that I am a fan of “no touch” icing, but if removing these injuries from the game is a priority for the NHL than that is the only way that they can effectively do it.

The new rule in regards to players keeping their helmets on during a fight will prove to be completely useless. There is a fraternity among NHL enforcers, and if anything this new rule will show that. What we are going to see a lot of this year is both players removing their helmets before a fight and taking the extra two minutes penalty.

The league implemented this rule in an attempt to prevent injuries. During hockey fights, many times both players end up wrestling each other to the ice, and on occasion players have smacked their heads off the ice resulting in injury.

The leagues enforcers will be more than willing to take the chance of that happening as opposed to breaking their hands punching a helmet, which is much more likely.

This was clear during the Leaf/Canadien’s game when Fraser and Moen squared off. Both guys dropped the gloves, and Fraser gestured to Moen to take his helmet off and after a few seconds they simultaneously removed their helmets. We are going to see this all year long, and for years to come, especially now that they have grandfathered in the visor rule.

For anyone who does not know what that term means, it is now a rule that anyone who has played less than 25 games has to wear a visor starting this year. It is the same thing they did with helmets in the 80’s. As players retire over the next ten years or so, everyone in the league will be wearing a visor.

I am all for changing the rules to make the game safer for everyone involved, but only when the rules make sense, and are functional.

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