Friday, April 17, 2009

Girls' Guide: Icing

In honor of the Blackhawk's win in the first game of the playoffs, I thought I'd republish part of a post from my old blog (though edited a bit, for style and I felt like I left a few things out). Enjoy.

I am a hockey fan, without a doubt, yet am still confused by some of the rules. Can you explain what "icing" is? Not the cake kind, of course.


I Want To Know About Sports So I Can Be Pretty AND Smart

Dear Pretty & Smart,

Icing. The official definition: When both teams have an even number of players on the ice, and one player shoots the puck from behind the center line and it cross the opponent's goal line but does not go into the goal.

The key to this rule is that the puck crosses both the center line and the goal line without being touched and is then received by an opposing player. It is considered a delaying tactic and results in a stop in play and a faceoff in the offending team’s defensive zone.

The interesting this about the icing rule is that it is not based on fair play. It was established to make sure hockey games were fun to watch. If a team was up against a much stronger team, they might resort to pure defense, simply shooting the puck up the ice every chance they got, which would not be fun to watch. If a team was ahead late in a game, they might also try this tactic to waste time, especially if the score was still close. Icing requires that both teams play aggressive offense, which is way more fun to watch.

The rule was modified prior to the start of the 2005–2006 NHL season to further discourage the offending team from "icing the puck." A team which has iced the puck is not allowed to substitute any players before the next faceoff. Teams often would ice the puck to stop the game when they needed to swap out tired players for fresh ones. The NHL made the change in an attempt to speed up game play, hoping the added consequence would reduce icing.

I hope that helps clear things up a little bit.

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