ST. PAUL, Minn. – Edmonton defenceman Taylor Fedun broke his right leg when he crashed into the end boards during the second period at Minnesota on Friday night on a play that left several Oilers players questioning why the NHL hasn’t adopted no-touch icing.
Fedun and the Wild’s Eric Nystrom were chasing after a puck near the end boards when Nystrom reached around Fedun with his stick in an attempt to touch the puck and avoid an icing call.
Video replays showed Fedun’s skate getting tangled up with a stick. Fedun crashed hard into the end boards and play was immediately stopped. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher, was hospitalized and did not make the trip back to Edmonton with the Oilers.
Oilers coach Tom Renney described the injury as a “complex fracture.”
“If you’re going to give majors and whatnot to guys who carry their sticks high and don’t control their sticks at head level, on an icing play like that, when you have your stick in someone’s feet, regardless of whether you’re going for the puck or not, that’s a very, very dangerous play,” Renney said. “The young fella probably lost his season because of it and who knows beyond that.”
In the NHL—unlike most other levels of hockey—the defensive team has to touch the puck on an icing play. That allows offensive players a chance to beat the defence to the puck, keep the play alive and avoid the icing call.
“I think he ended up a stick in his skate there and basically it caused him to lose his balance at a fast speed and go into the boards wrong,” Edmonton’s Darcy Hordichuk said. “It’s something that you don’t want to see it happen to anyone.
“I’m sure it’s something that (NHL disciplinarian Brendan) Shanahan is going to address the situation and figure out if they’re not going to get rid of the rule with no-touch icing, they’ve got to do something about the guys coming in there recklessly.”
Theo Peckham immediately went at Nystrom after the incident, but pulled back after hearing Fedun screaming in pain. Fedun, an Edmonton native, signed with the Oilers last spring after completing a collegiate career at Princeton.
“As soon as you hear that, you try to get out of the way and let the paramedics do their job,” Peckham said.
He also questioned why the NHL doesn’t adopt no-touch icing.
“You maybe get a scoring chance one out of every 15 games because of it,” 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.”
Renney would not discuss the NHL’s icing rules.
Nystrom, given a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct, was still upset after the game.
“I feel awful,” Nystrom said. “He was really hurt and I had obviously no intention of ever, ever doing anything like that. I was just racing for an icing and that’s one of those freak things that happens in those situations and it’s why people always say that rule (should be changed to no-touch icing). If I didn’t think I had a legit chance at the puck I would have never raced in there but I just thought I had a good jump and I could maybe get in there. … I feel terrible. So bad right now.”
Minnesota coach Mike Yeo acknowledged that Nystrom could be suspended.
“I do know that Ny was 100 per cent not trying to do anything dirty there,” Yeo said. “We looked at the replay a lot of times and he’s really trying to reach in. The puck is there and he’s trying to make a reach at the puck. It’s a really unfortunate situation. You definitely don’t want to see anybody get hurt. I know probably nobody feels worse than Ny right now. He’s not that kind of guy but we’ll wait to see what happens there.”