Player safety should be the main concern for all parties involved in the NHL, whether it is the players, the fans, the General Managers, or the NHL Head Office. With the technology that we have in our lifetime, and the studies that have been conducted, I completely agree that there comes a time where rules need to be changed to help enforce safety.
Some players do not agree with this rule, and it confuses me as to why they would not. I do understand it could bring in human error at important times in a game, but this already occurs. Referees might have a harder time judging when to call icing or not, but even with the old ‘touch-icing’, there were numerous times that the linesman did get it wrong. The amount of icings that occur in a game where a player should win the race to the puck occur significantly more often than times where two players race for it. This is why I am happy about the change to the rule, because it does not really change much to the play of an icing, except make it safer for players more often than it was prior to the rule change.
A benefit that I have found that has not been discussed by media, would be that it further penalizes a team for deliberately icing the puck. An example I can think of would be when there is very little time left in a game and a team is trying to tie the game. As the team defending an attack ices the puck, the team applying the pressure will not lose as much time off the clock, because the clock stops sooner than before when players had to touch the puck. This can add a second or two to the clock and have a faceoff in the opposing teams’ end. This can be very important if there is under five seconds left in the game, as it happens numerous times.
I believe player safety should be the main concern for every body, and this will only improve the game in the future. More rules need to be in place after players receive injuries from similar high-risk plays that can be eliminated. Not only do I agree and think safety is the main benefit of this rule, there are also other benefits that haven’t been realized or discussed yet.