Nobody has said the hit San Jose's Torrey Mitchell laid on Minnesota's Kurtis Foster was dirty. But Mitchell's hit from behind that sent Foster into the end boards and resulted in a broken left femur has rekindled the debate on no-touch icing. ¶ Had icing immediately been called when the Sharks' Christian Ehrhoff dumped the puck from behind the red line past the Wild goal line, Foster would not have raced to make the touch. Mitchell would not have chased to perhaps disrupt the icing that brought the faceoff back to the San Jose zone. ¶ Opinions are mixed as to if the league should adopt a no-touch icing rule.
Panthers defenseman Bryan Allen, who sustained a broken thumb March 14 when bashed from behind into the end boards by the Rangers' Brendan Shanahan, said, "To me, it probably wouldn't be a bad thing."
But Florida defenseman Jassen Cullimore said the current rule, which apparently won't be changed any time soon, can create momentum-changing moments if the icing is negated and the attacking team maintains control of the puck.
"But," he said before Saturday's game with Tampa Bay, "there has to be something in place to protect the guys going back for the puck. You're vulnerable. To break your leg or femur like that, it's not just this season. That's going to hamper him the rest of his life. It's not something to be taken lightly."
On the other hand, Lightning forward Mathieu Darche said, "Do we have to make new rules every time there's an injury? … When somebody separates a shoulder, should you say, 'We have to take the boards away?' So, it's very unfortunate, but how many times does it really happen?"
Allen said whatever the rule, players should better police themselves.
"Player to player," he said, "you have to have more respect for guys who are in a vulnerable situation."
Not in (fighting) shape
Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek said he was tempted to throw down with Nashville counterpart Chris Mason on Thursday when the game got rambunctious and the two had words while leaving the ice after the second period.
"He was pointing at me, and I was thinking about where to meet him somewhere on the red line. Then I decided it wasn't the right time," Hasek said after the game. "He was the first to say the words, and I gave it right back to him. I have fought two or three times through my NHL career, and it came to my mind. But it wasn't a good situation to fight."
Hasek, who recently missed time with a hip flexor and a sore back, has about three weeks to get into top shape for the playoffs. He hasn't had the best season (23-9-3 with an .899 save percentage), but the team might be deeper than some of Detroit's Stanley Cup winners.
"It's exactly (enough) time to get good practices; practices every day and play lots of games," Hasek said. "Three weeks is what I need to be in the best shape."
Entering Saturday, Coyotes rookie Daniel Carcillo needed one penalty minute to reach 300. But unless the 5-foot-11, 203-pound left wing goes altogether batty, he likely won't reach Joey Kocur's rookie mark of 377 minutes set in 1985-86 with the Red Wings. (The Flyers' Dave Schultz set the overall record of 472 in 1974-75)
But it seems Carcillo, in addition to being a willing battler (he has 16 fights), has anger issues with 13 misconducts.
"I've brought it on myself," he told the Edmonton Journal. "Yelling at the referees; after they make calls I make comments. I've always been in trouble, having disagreements with referees. I guess I have a little trouble with authority figures."
The man can shoot
Fredrik Modin, below, once won the NHL's hardest shot contest during All-Star Weekend with a blast of 102.1 mph. So perhaps Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire should consider himself lucky he only was concussed when the former Lightning star hit him in the mask with a shot during pregame warmups.
"It rang my bell pretty good," Leclaire told the Columbus Dispatch. "I saw it out of the corner of my eye and tried to protect myself by turning my head. It hit me right in the side of the head."
Leclaire has missed three games and likely will miss a few more, the Dispatch reports, because of pressure on his temples.
Manny Malhotra scored six goals in Columbus' first 71 games. He had scored five in three entering Saturday's matchup with the Red Wings.