RALEIGH, N.C. — The case for bringing hybrid icing to the NHL grew stronger on Tuesday night, but it came at a great cost to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Veteran defenseman Joni Piktanen suffered a season-ending injury as he attempted to force an icing in a game against the Capitals, and required a stretcher to take him off the ice at PNC Arena. As we learned this morning, the Finnish rearguard broke his left calcaneus bone (heel bone) and will need 10-12 weeks to recover, which will take us into the summer.

While this unfortunate incident may be the evidence needed to make some necessary amendments to the NHL Rule Book, it shouldn’t have taken the league this long to abolish touch-up icing.

Canes head coach Kirk Muller agrees.

“I think it’s long overdue,” Muller said. “There’s no real benefit in the game on it compared to what can happen to guys. The automatic icing, it should be there for sure.”

Had hybrid or no-touch icing been in effect, this play would have been blown dead far before Pitkanen destroyed his ankle, and he’d be able to aid Carolina in its playoff push in the Eastern Conference. Now, the already injury-plagued Canes are without one of their best blue liners down the stretch.

Carolina GM Jim Rutherford added: “I guess we’ll need a couple more injuries like Joni’s to effect change.”

Several current and past executives I’ve spoken to this season seem to favor altering the league’s icing rules. In the end, though, it all comes down to the approval of the Players’ Association — though it’s hard to imagine they’ll be opposed to a switch.

About The Author

Andrew Hirsh is a graduate of Elon University and is entering his fourth year as a credentialed NHL writer. He founded SunbeltHockey.com in 2012 and serves as the site's managing editor. Andrew can be reached via email at ahirsh3@gmail.com.