September 20, 2013 1:08 pm

Sutter on hybrid icing: “I’m not for that at all”

Hybrid icing – in which a linesman is given discretion to whistle the play dead if a defending player reaches the faceoff dot in his own end before the attacking player, instead of having to touch the puck behind his own goal line – has been given a trial period during NHL preseason games. The NHLPA would have to sign off on extending the rule change past the preseason, and according to a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger, that may be unlikely to happen.

Consider Darryl Sutter amongst those against hybrid icing.

Sutter, on how he tells his players to approach hybrid icing:
“I’ve told our players to play it out. Just keep the same rule – don’t hit and don’t trip. Play it out, because you don’t know. Hey, we’ve had veteran linesmen the two games I’ve coached, and we’ll have veteran linesmen again tonight, and you talk to them, and they’re just like us. [Reporter: Trying to sort out what is, when you call it, when you don’t?] Well, yeah. Very simple. There’s an imaginary line there. It depends where the imaginary line is. There’s rimmed pucks, there’s crosses. It’s not just as easy as what you guys say it is. It’s not that easy on the ice. There’s lots of time where there’s two feet – you don’t know if that puck’s rimmed, or if I’m coming from over there to get that puck. You’ve got to watch video to see. The [old] rule’s fine. I don’t know why, quite honest, why we…change it. The rule’s fine. I know everybody thinks, they say, ‘Oh, this guy got hurt,’ or ‘this guy got hurt.’ You can count on one hand how many in the last five years. The players are very respectful of the rule now. We keep wanting to put rules in just because somebody wants to say, ‘I made this rule. It was my rule.’ I’m not for that at all.”

During a media scrum late in the 2011-12 regular season he appeared to show support of hybrid icing, per a post on this site titled Sutter likes hybrid icing, line-free hockey. It’s interesting that his opinion has changed significantly after having seen the rule implemented in game situations for less than two weeks.

Per SiriusXM NHL, Lou Lamoriello is also an advocate against hybrid icing.

For a player’s perspective on rule changes – including an analysis of the less controversial shallower nets – I chatted with defenseman Alec Martinez after the morning skate today at the Pepsi Center.

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