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Should the NHL have no-touch icing?
Thu, March 20, 2008

Minnesota defenceman Kurtis Foster's broken left leg is the latest gruesome reminder of the dangers of touch-up icing in the NHL.

Foster will miss the rest of the season, including the playoffs, after crashing hard into the boards March 19th, during a race to the puck with San Jose rookie Torrey Mitchell.

Foster had surgery Thursday to repair a displaced fracture in his femur, and a stabilizing rod was put into his leg. Full story

Should the NHL do like almost all other hockey leagues and introduce no-touch icing?

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I'd like to see one of those 360 lb. football linesman on skates heading towards the boards at top speed. Even he would chicken out, the boards would win that one.

I don't want to see no touch icing because it would slow the game to a crawl. What about not allowing contact whenever the linesman's arm is up and icing is in question? That way the race is still on but players have to adapt and give way. No more headhunting or worries about the trailing player slamming into you. This might work. On the hotstove lounge they suggested icing is judged by whoever gets his stick across some arbitrary line first, but I think that solves nothing if the whistle doesn't blow. Once the icing is negated the race to the puck is still on and players can then try to position themselves to hit each other near the puck.
Rick W., 2008-03-25 17:16:34

This isn't brain surgery. Yes..change the rule before there is a death or someone paralysed. I have a good young friend..a father and husband who had a great career going who is now permanently paralysed due to a hockey mishap. This wasn't even in the NHL where a player feels compelled to stop at nothing to meet expectations. If a Thoroughbred Horse owner saw a bad pothole on the track He or She would insist that there not be any racing until it was repaired. It doesn't make sense for an owner to expose their investment to a possible career ending accident..for what ?? Blow the whistle and move the game along. Jim Hickey
James Hickey, 2008-03-25 16:30:31


Even the fastest player in the NFL isn't going half as fast as the slowest player in the NHL, and he is not getting shoved from behind by some bonehead three feet from the boards.

Yes injuries happen, but what do skill or intelligenge have to do with racing full out towards the boards for the puck.

Legislating injuries out of hockey is,as you say, impossible, but if they can be prevented from a play that serves no purpose, wouldn't that be good?

Darren, 2008-03-25 15:52:50

My two cents: yes, bring in no-touch icing. The league does itself and its fans no favours when the stars are being wheeled off. Would it be more of an issue if that was Lidstrom/Neidermayer/ Chara out for the season? Would it be more of an issue if, instead of breaking his leg, he broke his neck or back? The NHL is still a gate-driven league. If TSN's 72% is an indicative number, then the fans are speaking clearly. Anybody listening? I would even up the no-touch with this, though: call icings on the short-handed team. Why reward the penalized team with the option of killing the penalty with the most talentless move in hockey? Hockey is a skill game; make them use skill to kill a penalty. Now, I appreciate a good dust-up as much as the next guy, but predicable injuries are preventable injuries. Let's actively prevent them, then. Yes to no-touch icing.
Deap, 2008-03-25 15:08:11

Darren. I saw 360 lb linemen in the NFL get hit by 190 lb receivers. The linemen did not move. I believe that 360 lb linemen are immovable objects.

What's wrong with injuries anyways? They occur in all contact sports all of the time. Admittedly, we don’t like seeing them happen. You cannot legislate injuries out of the game just because some players are neither skilled enough nor intelligent enough, at avoiding them. Sometimes it’s just plain freak accidents or dumb bad luck.

Do we legislate banning shot-blocking by defensemen and forwards in fear that they may get injured because they're not wearing goalie equipment?

How far do we go? Injuries happen. Live with it or get out of the game! This is why they make the big bucks! If the NHL wants to really cut out the injuries, they will abolish the instigator rule! There are too many paper tigers in the league targeting the star players and injuring them without any fear of reprisal.

THAT… is the real issue!

Vince in Ottawa, 2008-03-24 19:43:34

No touch icing is BOREING! Why don't we just make hockey no contact I'm sure everyo0ne will like to watch that and it will apeaze all you wimps out there. Next thing you guys will be after is boxing with out the punching.
Dwain, 2008-03-23 16:51:01

"Vince in Ottawa" compares the NHL with the NFL. In one sense he is correct, they are both very physical games, however in football players don't have a very solid and immovable object in their path (the boards) when they are chasing the ball. To say that injuries, no matter how infrequent, are a part of the game is ludicrous. Players are moving faster than in any other sport, and combined with the size of players increasing every year this type of injury will only increase. This rule should be implemented as soon as possible.


Darren, 2008-03-23 14:54:59

No way. Do we want another IIHF league? No touch icing will be the beginning of the No effort Hockey League (NHL). The North American Fan's traditional philosophy to Pro Sports is that it is a Gladiator sport. You must fight or battle for everything from beginning to end! This is one of the reasons that the NFL is so popular.

Removing the battle, or fight for the puck on icing will make for lazier players. As the rule presently stands, when a player thinks of icing the puck both he and his opponent believe that his team-mate has a chance at getting to it. Therefore there is a battle for territorial advantage. Changing this rule on top of all the other rule changes that we have already seen will dilute the physicality of the game.

Recent injuries on icing have precipitated this knee jerk reaction and debates from the wimps who want to kill the game. Injuries are a consequence of any body contact sport. They cannot be always avoided or eliminated. If a player worries about injury then he is not cut out to pay at the Professional NHL level.

Keep the touch-up-icing rule in!

Vince in Ottawa, 2008-03-22 04:39:43

On a poll conducted by TSN,72% of fans voted in favor of no-touch icings,while 65% of GM's,and 57% of the players voted against it.Since the G.M.'s also voted NOT to bring this topic back to discussion for the next three years,I wouldn't hold my breath on seeing any changes soon.But...to answer the question,:Yes,they should adopt it.I believe they have it in the minors,and also in Europe,why should the NHL be any different?If it's to save needless injuries to players,I'm all for it.
Joe Meloche, 2008-03-21 08:45:37

I agree with you butch, the rule should have been gone 20 years ago, you can count how many players have been hurt because of that rule. It's good over 5, you might say that is a small number, but they miss 1-2 months of play.
RJ, 2008-03-21 07:02:08

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