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Penguins players share thoughts on NHL’s hybrid icing

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By Rob Rossi

 

Tanner Glass did not stand alone, though he was the most vocal among Penguins players opposed to the NHL adoption of hybrid icing for this season.

“In my mind it’s, like, why do it ­– because a couple of people go hurt?” Glass said during training camp. “We don’t need to over do it on rules because a few guys broke their legs.

“It’s terrible, and I hope the vote kills it for good.”

The NHL and its Players Association agreed Monday to adopt hybrid icing for the 2013-14 season.

Hybrid icing is a mixture of touch and no-touch icing. It provides a linesman discretion to blow the whistle and stop play if he believes a defending player will reach the puck first.

Hybrid icing was used for exhibition games.

Of 19 Penguins players surveyed by the Tribune-Review during training camp, eight favored adopting hybrid icing, six were against and five were undecided.

One potential benefit to hybrid icing would be to make the game safer from high-speed end-zone collisions, said winger Beau Bennett.

“I did it in college, so I’m used to it,” Bennett said. “I like it because you won’t see as many board injuries. The problem here is guys aren’t used to it yet.”

Hybrid icing is already used by the NCAA, and was implemented in the AHL last season for games played before the NHL lockout ended.

Coach Dan Bylsma said he supported the new icing rules, but only because he witnessed its successful implementation during part of the last AHL season.

The biggest concern most players had with hybrid icing was whether or not it made an linesman’s job more difficult.

“There is too much for the officials to look at – feet, stick,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “They don’t need more to look at.”

Defensemen Rob Scuderi declared himself a huge proponent of hybrid icing.

“But I suggested it to the union six years ago, so I’m not the guy to ask,” he said. “If it saves one player from being injured it’s worth it.”

Many Penguins forwards were passionately against adopting hybrid icing, though the topic split star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Crosby said the exhibition use of hybrid icing was “all right,” but Malkin described the rule as “stupid.”

Winger Chris Kunitz said he hoped players had “all the (necessary) information before” deciding against hybrid icing.

“It’s for the safety of the players,” Kunitz said.

Added winger Pascal Dupuis: “It’s hard for me because that’s my game – the forecheck, creating battles, beating guys to pucks.

“I think it will slow down the game a bit, but we have to try it (eventually).”

 

 Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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