If anyone was looking for a classic example of a one-on-one race that illustrates the NHL's new hybrid icing rule, they might be tempted to watch footage from the third period of the Penguins game Thursday against New Jersey.
A pass by Craig Adams in his offensive zone bypassed everyone and headed toward the corner in the far end. Linemate Tanner Glass took off in pursuit of the puck. It became a sprint between him and Devils defenseman Peter Harrold.
Previously, the two would have chased until one touched the puck. Now, it was a matter of a linesman determining which player would reach the puck first, based on their positioning at the nearest faceoff dot. Because the players were side-by-side, that made it a race to the left dot.
There was just one flaw in the presentation of the play, as Glass saw it: He gained on, then moved slightly ahead of, Harrold before the two got to the dot, yet Harrold was ruled the "winner," and the Penguins were charged with icing.
Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres, 7:08 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center.
- TV, Radio:
Root Sports; WXDX-FM (105.9).
- Probable goaltenders:
Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Jhonas Enroth for Sabres.
Won season opener, 3-0, against New Jersey. ... Chris Kunitz had 1 goal, 4 points in 3 games vs. Sabres last season. ... Sidney Crosby has 12 goals, 32 points in 22 career games vs. Buffalo, Evgeni Malkin 9 goals, 31 points in 21games.
Lost, 2-1, to Detroit in opener and played Ottawa Friday. ... Were 2-1 vs. Penguins last season with 11-7 goal edge. ... Were 3-5-1 in second of back-to-back games last season, with one of the wins vs. Penguins.
- Hidden stat:
Dating to last season, the Penguins are 16-2 in their past 18 home games.
That gave the puck to New Jersey for a faceoff in the Penguins end, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma used his only timeout to give the players on the ice a breather because they are not allowed to change after an icing. That underscored Glass' hatred of the new rule.
"There you go. Right there," Glass said Friday after the Penguins practiced at Consol Energy Center.
It was the 12th and final icing call in the Thursday game. There no doubt will be icing plays tonight when Buffalo visits Consol Energy Center.
Glass' take: Play on. Dump the hybrid icing, which was adopted just before the regular season after the NHL and the NHL Players Association voted it in. Glass was firmly on the dissenting side.
"It's a tough call for the linesman," Glass said. "He's on the other side of the ice. He doesn't have the angle to get there. The play happens fast. He's got to go from his position on the blue line down to the goal line to get a good angle on that. He doesn't have the angle.
"He sees it as a tie, but I'm clearly ahead. That's one of the reasons I voted against it. It's too much responsibility for the linesman. I don't blame the guy. He's doing his best. It's just not the right call."
Glass was told that a tie goes to the defenseman, but that didn't console him because he felt he beat Harrold to the dot. He wasn't the only one.
"Our guy got to the puck first, probably was leading at the dot, but the linesman has to make the judgment call at the dot," Bylsma said. "So be it."
The hybrid icing rule is meant to forestall injuries, perhaps major ones, that can or might happen when players chasing the puck at high speeds collide along the end boards. Glass isn't buying it.
"It annoys me. It really does," he said. "There's no reason to change it. A couple of guys got hurt. That's it. We get paid really well to play this game. You can probably count those injuries on one hand or two hands.
"I know it's a dangerous part of the game, but that's the game we play. It's a man's game. We don't need to be putting more responsibility in the linesmen's hands and making unnecessary rules to make it safe."
It's not as if Glass, a fourth-line player, is the type of guy to shy from the physical aspects, either. Grit is high on his job description.
Outside of his disgust over the icing ruling, Glass had a satisfying opener. One accomplishment apparently was getting under the skin of New Jersey's Ryane Clowe, another gritty player.
Late in the first period, Glass hit Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador in the corner -- near the boards, but not into them, a clean hit with no penalty called. That induced Clowe to confront Glass, and the two fought.
"You see a hit. Didn't know if it was clean or not," Clowe said. "I knew who it was. It was Glass, obviously. I don't usually like when guys take liberties or hit that way."
That's OK with Glass.
"Anytime I'm being physical, you're going to draw attention," he said. "I got a good hit on Salvador, and Clowe took exception. He's a good, honest player and a tougher player, too. I don't mind that at all. I think it's part of our game -- a necessary part of our game."
Glass had four hits, two blocked shots and an assist. Last season, his first with the Penguins, it took until the 41st game for him to get a point, an assist. He finished with one goal, one assist in 48 games in the lockout-shortened season.
"That's how it goes," he said. "My game doesn't change much from night to night and from year to year. Two years ago in Winnipeg, I had a point [an assist] in the second game of the season, and this year the first game of the season. It's nice to get that one early, but it's just a number, and nothing changes on my part."penguins
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published October 5, 2013 4:00 AM