Ok, I did say I would save this for a post on another day. Guess now is as good a time as any. Oh, and all of you readers that think I’m talking about the frosting that goes on top of cupcakes for the media at Kettler, get out of the kitchen and out to the rink, pronto!
Anyway, I have read everything I can find on the web about it and can see why some people may still be doing puppy dog head tilts when they try to understand what the heck icing is. So, here we go.
First, let’s look at what the NHL rules say:
Rule 81 - Icing
81.1 Icing – For the purpose of this rule, the center red line will divide the ice into halves. Should any player or goalkeeper of a team, equal or superior in numerical strength (power-play) to the opposing team, shoot, bat or deflect the puck from his own half of the ice beyond the goal line of the opposing team, play shall be stopped.
For the purpose of this rule, the point of last contact with the puck by the team in possession shall be used to determine whether icing has occurred or not. As such, the team in possession must “gain the line” in order for the icing to be nullified. “Gaining the line” shall mean that the puck (not the player’s skate) must make contact with the center red line in order to nullify a potential icing.
For the purpose of interpretation of the rule, “icing the puck” is completed the instant the puck is touched first by a defending player (other than the goalkeeper) after it has crossed the goal line and if in the action of so touching the puck, it is knocked or deflected into the net, it is no goal.
Any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not for eliminating the opponent from playing the puck. Unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player.
The puck striking or deflecting off an official does not automatically nullify a potential icing.
Yeah, that clears everything up! Are you just as confused as before you started reading? Of course you are, I would be too.
Now, let’s look at what about.com has to say:
Definition: Shooting the puck to the end of the ice from behind the center ice red line.
If the puck crosses the opposing goal line untouched, and is then retrieved by an opposing player, icing is called.
Considered a delaying tactic, it results in a stoppage in play and a faceoff in the offending team's defensive zone.
If, in the opinion of the linesman, any player of the opposing team is able to play the puck before it passes his goal line, but does not do so, the linesman can "wave off" icing, allowing play to continue.
The purpose of the rule is to encourage continuous action. Referees and Linesmen interpret and apply the rule to produce that result.
Well, that’s a little better, but let’s go "blonde":
When it comes to understanding icing, imagine this scenario: Caps and Pens are playing hot and heavy in front of the Pens’ net. The Penguins can’t get the puck away from the Caps and are getting frustrated. Finally one Penguin gets a hold of the puck and sends it flying down the ice away from his own goal because they just can’t finesse it away any other way. Now, everybody takes off down the ice towards the Caps net while the puck skids past the red center line, the next blue line, all the way down past the red goal line across the end of the rink and nobody has caught up with it yet. Now, if a Pens player reaches the puck first, the play continues. If a Caps player reaches it first, it’s an icing call against the Pens. The puck is returned for a face off back down at the other end of the rink, kinda back where they started.
A couple things to remember here:
If your team is tired and frustrated, icing the puck will not give you a chance to make a shift change, that’s a no-no per the NHL rules. Too bad, what a waste.
Secondly, if the Pens were playing shorthanded at the time, that desperate measure of whacking the puck down the rink is not icing. Well, they were already being penalized, right?
Finally, a ref can wave off the icing call if they feel the Caps players could have gotten the puck and simply opted not to do so. Total judgement call by the refs.
So, in brief, if your guy whacks the puck down the ice because his defense just can’t seem to get the job done, you better hope someone from your team gets down the ice and gets that sucker before the other team does. Otherwise, you’re screwed…Any questions?