Is Tag-up Icing Worth the Risk?

Greg FearCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2008

Wednesday night, in a game between the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild, there was an incident in which Kurtis Foster fell awkwardly into the boards on a race for the puck on an icing call.

As a result, Foster broke his left leg and is out for the season.

This undoubtedly will once again bring up the topic of no-touch icing. Many hockey experts, hockey players, reporters, commentators, and fans have been urging NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to bring this rule change in for years.

The most vocal on the subject is CBC Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry. Every time this happens, he will rant for a few weeks about it during his Coach's Corner spot. He, like many, think it will take either death or paralysis to bring this change.

Bettman is reluctant to change the rule because, as he has stated several times in the past, it is exciting to see two players race for the puck.

While it is exciting, fans cringe at the thought of one or both players receiving severe and potentially life-threatening injuries. Mark Tinordi, Pat Peake, and Marco Sturm are just a few in the rather long line of stars who have been injured in these races.

And Foster is the latest. While I hope this is the last of these incidents, I am well aware that it won't be unless the people in NHL circles demand it.

Talking about it for five minutes for a couple of weeks like Cherry does gets the subject out there, but there is not nearly enough attention on the subject.

Players, coaches, owners, fans, and the media need to bombard the NHL head office on a continuous basis to get this barbaric rule changed before it is too late.

If worst comes to worst, the players should threaten to go on strike simply out of fear of being "the one," even though a strike would be wildly unpopular with the fans.

Employers are supposed to look after the health and well being of their workers. With this rule currently in the game, they are failing miserably.

Mr. Bettman, please institute no-touch icing before you are on the receiving end of a lawsuit citing negligence in the workplace causing death. The health and well being of your players is far more important than a race that results in icing 99 percent of the time.