Here is the definition of hybrid icing, according to NHL.com:
So would hybrid icing be the answer in this latest accident? If you look at the picture above, Fedun is clearly ahead of Nystrom by the time the two players are at the faceoff dots. Under the hybrid rule, the play would (or I say should) have blown dead and Fedun would have continued to have a promising year this year.
What about Kurtis Foster? He suffered a broken femur and had his career severely set back on an icing play as well. Here is a picture of him in a race for the puck, at the faceoff dot:
Again, by the hybrid rule, Foster is ahead (although at worst, it looks like a tie, which still blows the play dead). So yes, Foster should have been safe under the hybrid icing rule.
I am a little worried that guys will still get badly hurt under the hybrid rule, however. This will save several bad injuries though. So it’s a step forward. But the rule states that if the defensemen is in the lead or it’s a tie the play will be blown dead. What about the forwards? Have they had fair game for long enough that we don’t care? It should protect them too, in my opinion. And will NHL referees be able to keep safety at the front of their minds while no injuries are happening, or will they eventually start to bend on this rule a bit?
I find this comment by Brian Burke disturbing as to why the NHL won’t bring in no-touch icing, which is the answer to my questions above: “The race for a loose puck is an exciting play for our fans and we have to keep that play in” (in fairness, he went on to say “but we have to figure out a way to eliminate the injuries to the defensemen”). That statement says it all.
Is it a Nascar mentality that fans have? We are just dying to see that car smash up against the wall and watch bits and pieces flying into the stands? I don’t know, personally as a fan, I’d rather see my favorite players still play here. I think hybrid icing will eliminate many of these injuries. But if the NHL really wants to take this seriously, they’ll implement NO-touch icing. I predict with the hybrid rule, it will just give us another hot topic to talk about in a few years… but, at least it’s a big step forward from touch icing.