Home > Northwest Division, Pacific Division, Playoffs, Western Conference > Avs’ Tucker Takes 1 Game Suspension

Avs’ Tucker Takes 1 Game Suspension

Monday night the Avalanche suffered yet another loss. Playing the LA Kings the Avs forced it to overtime and lost. That’s the good news, they got the one point they needed to try and stay in playoff contention. The bad news? Avs’ Darcy Tucker took an unnecessary (the suspension was just, the play that caused it was not) suspension for excessive physical contact with Kings’ defenseman Matt Greene. Tucker was assessed a two minute penalty at the time of the play for tripping Greene, and post game the NHL issued a one game suspension. Tucker will miss the home game against the Kings tonight in Denver. He forfeits $11,658.03 to the players emergency fund.

Those watching the play have three different opinions, all equally valid. The first? You have to play until the whistle, every second counts, this is a conference foe and they currently sit ahead of you in the standings. The second? Players should respect each other enough not to engage in dangerous plays. Head-shots shouldn’t have to be regulated by the league because there should be respect for each other, excessive roughing on icing shouldn’t have to be enforced because there should be enough respect for each other. The bottom line? There isn’t enough respect for each other. The third? That the NHL really should switch over to no-touch icing.

This isn’t the first injury that has happened due to the current icing rules, and it certainly won’t be the last. Who in Minnesota doesn’t remember Kurtis Foster‘s bone-chilling collision into the boards trying to get the icing? It happened almost two years ago to the Tucker-Greene hit. March 19, 2008 in San Jose, California: Foster was rushing to the boards when he got touched and tripped into the boards by forward Torrey Mitchell of the Sharks. Then head coach of the Sharks Ron Wilson (currently head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and led Team USA Hockey to the Silver Medal in Vancouver) stated that he and others have been lobbying to enact no-touch icing for ages.  And who in San Jose doesn’t remember Marco Sturm‘s painful feet into the boards crash against Colorado Avalanche Adam Foote? Back in March of 2004 Sturm dumped and chased the puck in the first period of the game in Denver, CO. There is debate as to whether Foote rode him into the boards or if he accidentally got his skate stuck on Foote’s stick and was unable to do a hockey stop instead going feet first into the boards with Foote behind him. Regardless, Sturm suffered a dislocated ankle.

Should the NHL step in once again to protect its players? Well that launches into a whole other debate. Those in the pro auto-icing say yes, the game is just as fast and there are no accidental injuries. With the way players skate today, the speed and body weight just isn’t the same as it was years ago. Players have been recorded at 5.5 seconds from blue line to blue line, so in a mad dash to get to the puck there are bound to be collisions, injuries, but should there be? Most of us watched the Olympics in Vancouver back in February, there are few that would argue the pace of the games were slow, that the auto-icing hindered play and that fans suffered. Quite the opposite, play was just as quick and creativity/play-making were rewarded. The typical dump and chase style is what hockey fans in the USA and Canada are used to seeing, the touch icing allows for teams to use dumping the puck and a full on sprint as part of their offensive strategy. Those who play internationally are not only used to bigger patches of ice (200 ft x 100 ft) but are also used to auto-icing. What this allows for is more finesse, more passing, play-making and quite honestly, some beautiful hockey.

Those on the other side of the fence have a valid argument as well. They like the speed and the effort put forth by players to get to the puck, they don’t want players to lose that extra push to make every moment count. They also state that the Olympics are going to be fast paced as it is the best of the best on each team. They state this is why auto-icing looks good, because you don’t get a fourth line with Getzlaf, Nash and Perry on it anywhere on the NHL. They do have a valid point, these are top line players, many on Team Canada were Captains (9 – Morrow, Crosby, Staal, Nash, Richards, Iginla, Niedermeyer, Luongo and Toews; plus a few Alternate Captains as well) What team in the NHL has that kind of leadership or their stats? I’ll tell you, NONE.

So, should the NHL enact auto-icing? Well depends on who you ask and how you feel about the game. Either way, it’s a topic up for debate amongst all GM’s at almost every single meeting.

  1. Brendan
    March 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Well written Courtney. I know where to go for my hockey fix when I miss a game!

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