Thursday, 27 March 2008

NHL GM's Say NO to No-Touch Icing

by Jes

No-Touch Icing is a rule that many hockey leagues have had for years, but one the NHL refuses to adopt like Angelina Jolie and any kid from Africa.

Why is that?

As we saw with the recent broken leg injury suffered by Kurtis Foster, the current way of touch icing puts the players at needless risk.

Time and time again, we hear the same refrain: "We can't take away those exciting puck chases. The fans will never stand for another whistle!"

Riiiight... umm... I've watched junior hockey for years, and can't say that I miss the chases for an iced puck. If anything, it spares us the inevitable icing call and just gets on with it. Really, how many iced-puck chases end up being waived off because an offensive player gets to the puck first? Once a game, at most?

It's bad enough that the players' don’t value their own safety, but why do the GM's continue to not care about the well being of their players?

Sure, we know that management groups, throughout labour history, have tended not to give a damn about their employees' safety. Callous management isn't anything new.

The difference between the NHL and your typical steel mill? Replacement cost! It's much easier to replace a steel worker and pays for their medical expenses than it is to do the same for an NHL player.

Not only does the team have to pay a replacement player when their star gets injured, but the team's insurance premiums go up as well.

No-touch icing? That would help prevent needless injuries, and ought to be embraced by GM's as a way to cut some costs and save some limbs.

Alas, the GM's show that, once again, their heads are in the sand, or up Gary Bettman's freshly-shaven ass.

Per Bob MacKenzie of

The NHL's 30 general managers were asked the following question: In the wake of Kurtis Foster's broken leg, are you in favor of no-touch icing? Yes or No?

Of the 26 GMs who responded, 17 said, No, they do not favor no-touch icing. Eight said, Yes, they would like to see a change to the current rule and go to no-touch. One said he simply can't make up his mind, that he used to be in the No camp but isn't so sure now.

Those results are not a surprise, really. Every year at the NHL GMs' meeting they beat this subject up and come to the same conclusion – the significant majority is not prepared to support a change to the icing rule, they like races for the puck and at the risk of being callous, they say they can't and won't be influenced by injuries because it's the nature of the game. In fact, at the most recent GMs' meeting in Naples, Fla., the GMs decided against even discussing the subject for at least another three years.
Wow, the GM's can't be bothered from their busy schedule of golfing and drinking to discuss an issue for ANOTHER THREE YEARS? Geez, don't work too hard, boys.

Yes, the GM's can't be bothered and influenced by injuries because, well, employees just get injured, and that's that.


I'd like to ask the GM of the Wild just how much money they'll spend on a replacement player for Kurtis Foster and how much more they'll need to pay in insurance next year. I wonder if a big fat dollar figure would get the message through.

*I'm willing to guess that the GM who couldn't make up his mind was none other than our own Dave Nonis. D00d couldn't make a decision if his life depended on it.

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