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Fraser: Hybrid icing rule in game-winning goal vs. the Leafs

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Kerry Fraser
10/18/2013 2:11:28 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hi Kerry,

I'm sure you're getting a ton of emails about the goal at the end of the Carolina-Toronto game on Thursday night but I noticed something that most of the stories and comments on the play seem to be missing.

Looking at the replays it appeared as if the linesman waives off icing when Bernier went out to play the puck and before a player for either team made it to the face-off dots, therefore hybrid icing didn't matter at all on this play.  Can you tell me if I'm correct in this observation?

Thanks for your insight.

Peter Ashton
Toronto, ON

Peter:

You raise an excellent point given the fact that Leafs replacement goalie Jonathan Bernier did make an attempt to play the puck as it caromed off the end boards toward his goal crease. Bernier's attempt to play the puck was sufficient reason, as per rule 81.3, for linesman Don Henderson to waive off the goal. This wasn't the exclusive reason, however. The hybrid icing rule kicked in even though Radek Dvorak had not quite made it to the finish line in the race to the hash marks.  These two factors caused double-jeopardy for the Leafs in nullifying a potential icing on the play, allowing Bernier to deflect the puck into his own net.

Kinks in the new hybrid icing rule are still being worked out for both the linesmen and players at this point and as unusual, situations occur like the one in last night's game. For our understanding, there are unique situations when the linesmen are required to make a 'quick' split-second judgment as to which player will gain the hash marks first (within a stride) given player speed, momentum, direction and proximity to the puck. One such situation is when the puck has the potential to rebound off the back boards, thereby becoming available and playable ahead of the goal line/in front of the net. This enhances urgency for the linesman to render and communicate his call. A swift decision by the linesmen would enable the goalkeeper to either play the puck or remain in his net should icing result.

Similarly to a referee's "intent" to blow the whistle there is always a slight delay between the brain receiving a visual picture, processing the information to make a judgment and then transmitting that signal to the motor senses for a response. The end result of this process would be for the linesman to either wave the play good or blow his whistle and then raise an arm for icing. On all counts, linesman Don Henderson made the correct judgment given the flood of information that he received in the same instant on this play.

Radek Dvorak was in the lead lane when he blew past Cody Franson, as the Leafs defenceman was turning from backward to forward skating posture. Dvorak clearly had the speed, momentum, closest proximity to the puck and lead position on Morgan Rielly as they were just about to cross the hash marks. Linesman Don Henderson factored all of these criteria in his determination to wave off icing combined with the fact that in the same instant Bernier made a play on the puck. In the footage available on TSN SPORTSCENTRE, we see linesman Henderson's arms still extended in the wave with Dvorak well past the hash marks and Rielly trailing.

It will certainly take some time for everyone to adjust to this new rule. Radek Dvorak demonstrated the "safe" competition created by this new icing rule in his race for the finish line. Perhaps Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said it best; "The number one thing is never give up on the puck."

Jonathan Bernier (Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)
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