Sprint to beat icing results in big loss for Oilers

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2011 - 12:08 AM

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom prepared to stop a shot by Edmonton's Teemu Hartikainen in the first period Friday. The Oilers beat the Wild 4-3 in a shootout to end Minnesota's preseason schedule.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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The NHL continues to be the only hockey league in the world that has touch icing, and Friday night at Xcel Energy Center, another dangerous race to beat out an icing left an Edmonton Oilers defenseman with a broken right femur.

Now players such as former Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster, who broke his femur on a race for an icing in 2008, are again calling for the NHL to switch to no-touch icing.

"I hope this leads to change," Foster, now a defenseman with Anaheim, said in a text to the Star Tribune. "I'll be in touch with [NHLPA Executive Director] Donald Fehr very soon."

The latest casualty was the Oilers' Taylor Fedun, a 23-year-old who just graduated from Princeton. Fedun was injured when Wild forward Eric Nystrom tried to beat out an icing.

Nystrom tried to reach around Fedun to touch the puck, but he believes the blade of his stick rolled into the holder of Fedun's skate blade. The result was a violent crash and a lot of pain.

"I feel awful," Nystrom said. "Obviously, I had no intention of ever, ever doing anything like that. I was just racing for an icing and that's just one of those freak things that happens in those situations. That's why people always talk about that rule."

And they are bound to again.

"You maybe get a scoring chance one out of every 15 games because of it," Oilers defenseman Theo Peckham said. "How many more guys are going to have to go down with ankles and legs before the league decides to do something about it?"

Nystrom was assessed a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct. The NHL will review the incident for potential supplementary discipline once it receives video Saturday.

"I don't think it was a malicious play," Nystrom said. "If anything I would blame it on the touch icing rule. It was just a freak play. I had no intent of doing that. I feel terrible, so bad right now."

Roster moves

After the Wild blew a late third-period two-goal lead and lost 4-3 in a shootout, it reassigned center Casey Wellman and defenseman Nate Prosser.

That left the Wild with 23 healthy bodies, including defensemen Marco Scandella and Justin Falk and forwards Nick Johnson and Brett Bulmer.

Mike Lundin (back), Cody Almond (back) and Matt Kassian (finger) were placed on injured reserve.

Scandella and Falk have seemed shoo-ins for a while, but Johnson and Bulmer are getting closer to sticking. Rosters must be submitted Wednesday.

"I just believe in myself," said Bulmer, 19. "I'm coming here to make the team. ... I just worked my hardest and I'm glad I'm still with the boys."

Johnson, one day after being claimed off waivers against Pittsburgh, had a solid game against Edmonton. He was strong on the wall, physical, created space for his linemates and played coach Mike Yeo's system perfectly.

"He's dependable," Yeo said. "I know [Penguins coach Dan Bylsma] had a lot of confidence in him. He plays a very honest game, he'll take care of the puck, he's going to be physical, he'll get to the offensive zone. He's not going to cheat you out there."

End of auditions

The Wild will take Saturday off, then leave for Duluth for two days of practice and team building after a Sunday practice in St. Paul.

"What's done is done. Now we get ready for the real stuff," said Devin Setoguchi of the Wild's 3-3-1 preseason. "Now it's time to kick it up another notch. Regular season is a different gear. It means something. We just have to get focused and ready to go."

Setoguchi, Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored Friday.


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