The big topics at the annual general managers meeting down in Florida are, pretty predictably, player safety and creating more offense.
One of the ideas that seemed to gain the most steam in the player safety area of concern was hybrid icing, in which a race that a defensive player is likely to win or one that is too close to call is whistled as soon as it crosses the deep red line but a race that an offensive player is likely to win is let go.
The idea is that this would eliminate some of the very dangerous full-speed collisions that occur along the end boards when a forward and defenseman are tied up and slightly out of control going for the puck. Eric Nystrom knows far too well about how dangerous this can be after his collision with Taylor Fedun in the preseason.
"We might leave it as it is, because the players have really done a nice job of avoiding contact as much as possible," (Florida GM Dale) Tallon said. "But there still have been some injuries. You're never going to legislate totally on the injuries, but I think the hybrid icing is fine. It's got a chase involved, and it still keeps the integrity of the game.
"Our group was really positive on it, so we'll have to see what the rest of the guys have to say about it as we move forward."
The other measure that's gaining steam is outlawing hand passes in the defensive zone, particularly because some players use them to cheat on defensive zone faceoffs (and Steve Ott is a master at this).
Things that seem to have died in committee include the removal of the goalie trapezoid, the reinstatement of the red line for two-line passes and allowing players to "bear hug" along the boards. If you think that last one had to have been suggested by someone like Brian Burke, congratulations.
- I was thinking the other day about how so many of the Stars "low risk, high reward" investments have really paid off this year, and Mike Heika apparently was having a brainwave along those same lines as he takes that angle for this paywalled feature. [DallasNews.com]
- Any story about Tomas Vincour that can work the quote "Devo is like my dad" into the story in reference to Radek Dvorak is a winner in my book. [ESPN Dallas]
- Razor has been thinking about what things need to go away in the NHL. [Razor with an Edge]
- And Justin Bourne takes issue with No. 10 on Razor's list - the pre-game skate. I can kind of go both ways on this one. Other sports that play on a regular basis (i.e., not the NFL), have some sort of earlier-in-the-day workout, whether it's infield and batting practice in baseball or shootaround in the NBA. But with as much as the Stars have cancelled them this season, they could probably get by without them most days. [Backhand Shelf]
- Danish defenseman Philip Larsen has joined Twitter and warmed my heart by immediately chirping Steve Ott, who has vowed revenge. Also, Larsen's nickname is apparently Larry. How could I have missed that? Slight language warning for Larsen, but hey, it's hockey chirping. You should expect that. [@PLarsen36/@otter2nine]
- Hard to think Kari Lehtonen came to Dallas with questions about his work ethic and commitment to the fitness side of the game questioned, eh? [NHL.com]
- All the numbers say Joe Nieuwendyk has done a terrific job in his first several years as Stars general manager. Now, some of these have to be taken with a grain of salt because shootouts make the whole picking up wins thing easier now than in the past, but it's still interesting. [DallasNews.com]
- Ott was a guest on Puck Daddy's daily podcast, and I learned some fun things about him, not the least of which was that he and Trevor Daley used to have epic battles in junior hockey. If anyone out there has videos of this, consider this an official request. [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: Mike Yeo is not a happy hockey coach of the Minnesota Wild at the moment, and he let his charges know it at Monday's practice. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Our friends over at Hockey Wildness are trying to decide whether or not they endorse the "Dive for Five," or trying to lose their way into a top draft pick. [Hockey Wilderness]
- Around the Pacific Division, the winner: It was not a great scoreboard watching night if you were a Stars fan. On the completely negative side, the San Jose Sharks took advantage of a poor night from the Edmonton Oilers for a 3-2 win. On the plus side, they play the Flames today, so somebody has to lose, right? Right? [Edmonton Journal]
- Around the Pacific Division, the quasi-losers: The team that the Stars really wanted to win, the Anaheim Ducks, took the Colorado Avalanche to overtime but lost 3-2. And the Phoenix Coyotes got a loser point again in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators. [Los Angeles Times/Fox Sports Arizona]
- Oh dear, Krys Barch. I kind of get what you're going for here. But this is really, really not the way to phrase your opinions about the seriousness of concussions. [Puck Daddy]
- In watching this video from Monday's practice before the team took off for Minnesota, I had to ask myself - have I ever seen Adam Burish interviewed without a hat on? Is he covering up something epic like Kari Lehtonen post-victory hair?