Monday, April 23, 2012

Explaining the Game: "Icing"

Welcome to a new feature I call "Explaining the Game," in which I transcribe conversations I have with members of my family who don't understand hockey.  It's for all of you marginal Kansas City hockey fans who may have had similar convos in the past.  Hopefully it will help you understand the game a little better using a vernacular familiar to you non-hockey fans.  Today's topic of discussion: ICING


While watching the Bruins-Caps game yesterday with my uncle:

(The Capitals miss a pass in the neutral zone, and the puck bounds behind the Bruins net.  A Bruins player touches up for icing.)

Uncle: So, what's that?

Me: Icing.

Uncle: Oh. So, what, the puck has to pass three lines?

Me: (thinking, and a bit surprised by his quick comprehension) Uh, well, yeah, actually.  Well, two red lines, but, yeah, three or more lines works.

Uncle:  Oh, okay.

Me: (trying to simplify it) Well, basically, it's just when they shoot it across the goal line from anywhere behind center ice.

Uncle:  Hmmm....

Me: Unless that official determines it could have been played by a member of the opposing team.

Uncle: (nods)

Me: And, if the goalie has to play it, that's not icing.

Uncle: (no response)

Me: So...uh, yeah, that's about it.  See, the faceoff goes to the other end.  So, you shouldn't do it, unless you have to.

Uncle: (starts conversation with my cousin)


(The Capitals are killing a penalty, and shoot the puck out of the zone behind the Bruins net)

Uncle:  Why isn't that icing?

Me:  You can do that if you are killing a penalty.

Uncle: Oh, so, it's legal to ice it if you are on the powerplay?

Me:  Well, no.  It's called "clearing" when you do it as the defensive team killing the powerplay, and it's called "icing" if the teams are at even strength.  Clearing is fine, icing is not.

Uncle:  So, if you shoot the puck down the ice when there is a penalty, it's not icing, but if you do it when there isn't a penalty, there is icing?

Me: Yeah...unless you are the team on the powerplay.  Then you still can't clear it, because that's icing. You still have to go by the regular rule.

Uncle:  Oh.

Me:  Yeah.

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