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Board discusses icing, international hockey

by Dan Rosen

NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said following the conclusion of the Board of Governors meeting Monday that the League's general managers remain in favor of the hybrid-icing experiment being used during the 2013-14 preseason.

Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell was asked by Bettman to poll the League's general managers during the weekend on hybrid icing, which is being considered as a replacement for the touch-icing system used by the NHL in the past.

Hybrid icing, which allows the linesman to blow a play dead if the defending player is not behind in the race to the faceoff dots in his defensive zone, must be approved by the National Hockey League Players' Association in order to take effect in the regular season.

"Whatever rule we start the season with is the rule we're going to play during the season," Commissioner Bettman said.

The general managers have already approved hybrid icing. A date for the union vote has not been announced.

"While some [general managers] raised some issues in question, I still think the vast majority still favor hybrid icing," Commissioner Bettman said.

The Commissioner said the Board of Governors meeting, which lasted approximately three hours, included a review of the League's rule changes for the upcoming season, updates on the state of the business heading into a new seasons, updates on franchise transfers that took place during the summer (New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes) and a lengthy discussion on player safety.

"The types of things we normally do in advance of the start of the season," Commissioner Bettman said.

In addition, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly gave an update on the arrangements for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The NHL will go on hiatus from Feb. 9-25 so the players can participate in the hockey tournament for the fifth straight Winter Olympics.

Daly and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr met recently in Portugal with officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation regarding international initiatives. Commissioner Bettman said while the League's international business was addressed "very generally" in the meeting Monday, there was nothing to report.

"Obviously we have some work to do with the Players' Association in that regard, so there is really nothing to announce," Commissioner Bettman said. "There has been a lot of speculation about Premiere Games, about World Cups, about Champions' League competition and those are all things that are still in the hopper, but we really need to be sitting with the Players' Association to make sure we're on the same page in terms of getting a handle on that."

Bettman also said after the BOG meeting that he expects the sale of the Florida Panthers to be finalized shortly.


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