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Penguins players share thoughts on NHL’s hybrid icing

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.

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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