The general managers of all NHL teams wrapped up another meeting yesterday in Toronto. While there they were informed on the progress of the new hybrid icing rules. They also covered topics like fighting (goalie and regular) the new goalie equipment and the shallower nets. Even the subject of in-league bullying also was addressed. While some of the topics met with various levels of grumbling and dissent, the new hybrid icing rules seemed to please both the league and the general managers.
NHL Senior Vice President and(recently promoted)Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom stated while the amount of icings remained the same, they were far less injuries involved as opposed to the old touch-icing rules. “It’s stopped that catastrophic injury along the end boards; that was the goal and objective of the hybrid icing,” Walkom said to NHL.com. “And our guys have been great about going back to center ice if they miss something relative to a player racing that they didn’t see or a goaltender coming out of the crease, but there has been less and less of that.”
You can expect that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had something to say on the topic of fighting at yesterday’s meeting. Chiarelli has to have clout amongst his fellow GMs. He’s got one Cup to his name, he rebuilt the franchise to its current success, and he’s from one of the Original Six teams. “It’s not at the level where it’s been in the media,” Chiarelli said to ESPN.com “I’m for it [fighting], I think it’s deep-rooted in the game. I think it acts as a deterrent. I understand the head injuries, I understand all that stuff, fully cognizant of it. So our discussion is that we know it’s an important issue, but there were other good issues in the game that are prominent.
“Listen, we’re the Bruins, we’ve got guys who can fight, I like the way we’ve built our team. I think our fans appreciate it, too.”
While the league has been tougher on fighting by adding penalty minutes for players who remove their helmets, they’re still a little up in the air on the subject of goalie fights. The Ray Emery-Braden Holtby fight had to have been batted around by the managers as they tried to find a new level of consistency for those kind of fights. It is likely that the league and the managers will create a rule when they next meet in March that penalizes goaltenders with additional time for coming out of the crease to fight.
“I would think that that’s the direction we’re going to go on that one,” Chiarelli said. “We discussed it, it was pretty heavily in favor of doing something on that.”
It’s nice the “Big, bad Bruins” won’t be losing an auxillary part of their skill set any time soon. (That is unless Tuukka Rask decides to have an amazing flip out moment with another team’s goalie.)