The National Hockey League will ask its players to evaluate ice conditions following each game, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. Players will fill out a form created by the NHLPA/NHL Playing Environment subcommittee that asks them to evaluate what the ice was like after each period.
Each player will fill out the form, according to Renaud Lavoie of the Journal de Montreal. Many around the league believe that improving ice conditions can increase scoring, Lavoie reported.
The SAP Center has long had issues with its ice, particularly as the Sharks have shared the arena with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda over the past two seasons.
The players voiced their concerns to ownership last season. Logan Couture called the SAP Center’s ice “garbage,” and told CSN Bay Area last year that it was difficult to keep the puck from bouncing.
“You get on a power play and you try and make a pass, and you can’t because it’s skipping everywhere. Obviously our power play is one of the better ones in the league, and I think it’s affected our power play. You hate to make excuses, but the ice just isn’t good.”
The news of the surveys comes about a week after NHL ice guru Dan Craig addressed the league’s Board of Governors at their meeting in Los Angeles. Commissioner Gary Bettman called on the league’s ice crews to do a “better job” of maintaining good ice conditions.
Bad ice has been a problem around the league this season, stretching from expansion cities like San Jose and Raleigh, to Original 6 cities Detroit and Chicago. Octagon-Hockey agent Allan Walsh tweeted last month he was “hearing from players that generally the quality of ice leaguewide is getting worse.
It remains to be seen whether or not the league will be able to adequately address the issue, or even if it will improve scoring. Many teams share their arena with another tenant, and many others don’t play in a cold weather city. But, now the players will have a direct avenue to voice their concerns, and those evaluations should help going forward.