Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Proposed NCAA Rule Changes

The NCAA has some great ideas…but some of the proposed rule changes for Hockey aren’t among them.

Let us take a look at each of the five rule changes. These changes go to the Rules Oversight Committee in July for approval, and hopefully they are wise enough to can some of these.

* Enhancement to the contact to the head rule to include a minimum of a five-minute major penalty and either a game misconduct or game disqualification penalty

A minimum? I definitely think that hits to the head need to be taken more seriously, but this classifies someone whose elbow comes up at the last minute as an equal crime to cheap shot artists like “Erin” Marvin who are looking to take a player out by aiming for their head. The opponent should get a 5 minute PP in all cases? I think this is a judgment call, which is really scary in the WCHA where the refs barely know the rule book, let alone have the capacity to make a sound judgment between a 2 minute and 5 minute (w/ misconduct or disqualification) contact to the head penalty. This also penalizes taller players. John Mitchell was called for several bogus contact to the head penalties merely because he is taller and a guy like Garrett Roe is short, so a lot of hits between two contrasting body heights could put the elbow at head level when that player is obviously not trying to hit them in the head.

A minimum of five minutes will lead to a lot of PP time early in the season, and could also lead to less hitting in the games as players don’t want to get called for a five minute major and 10 minute misconduct because they grazed an opponent’s helmet. Aggressive play is part of hockey, and one of the things that make it great. I’m all for cleaning up cheap hits, but let’s be realistic in realizing not every contact to the head deserves a 5 minute major.

This is similar to checking from behind. There is a time to call a major and a time to just send a player to the box for 2 minutes. Emphasize the penalty and call it early and often next season instead.

* Enforcement of icing at all times, including while a team is shorthanded

Name the other league that uses this rule? So the NCAA wants to promote scoring and skill. How about an emphasis on consistently calling penalties like interference and holding early each season, and watch the talented players score more goals? This is an artificial attempt to increase scoring, while hurting the role of the PK. The PKers are already at a disadvantage, now they can’t send the puck all the way down the ice? And if they do, the attackers at full strength are further rewarded w/ an offensive zone face off after the icing (assuming that rule applies the same)? So the attackers are barely penalized for not being able to maintain possession of the puck while on the advantage (if they can't skate to the blue line)? DUMB.

There are many who agree w/ me. Brad Schlossman over at the Grand Forks Herald had a nice piece the other day about this. Earlier in April: WCHA coaches voted 12-0 against it. Atlantic Hockey coaches voted 12-0 against it. And Central Collegiate Hockey Association coaches voted 11-0 against it. That is 60% of college hockey right there, and I could only guess that Hockey East and ECAC wouldn’t be much different.

More from the article: “I think it’s just a crime,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. “I’ve been in college hockey for 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It was almost unanimous for the entire coaching body. How can the committee overturn the entire coaching body? I think it’s sad, the lack of respect that the committee had for the coaching body.

“We didn’t spend any time even talking about it because it was so radical. We just voted 12-0 and moved on.”

“It’s quite a shock,” [Dave]Hakstol said. “I haven’t said much, but I’m going to speak my mind on this. I’m upset about us not having a say in it as a Division I coaching body. On a national basis, we were very strongly against it, if not unanimously against it.”

The best are these comments from Fairbanks AD Forrest Carr:

“In keeping with the committee’s philosophy to encourage skill and create scoring chances, this will enhance power-play opportunities,” Karr said. “After lengthy discussion, the committee concluded that the previous rule inappropriately provided relief for a team that committed an infraction.”

Being down one man is not appropriate punishment for a penalty? How long has hockey been played? The current rule is good enough for the NHL and international competition, and has been for a LONG TIME. It is good enough for the NCAA too, and time for them to pull their head out of their ass and put this rule change in the garbage where it belongs.

* Modification of the no-touch icing rule to wave off icing if an official determines that an attacking player would reach the puck before a defending player

I like this idea. They use it in the USHL and it works pretty well, and gives the icing team a change to hustle to negate it, especially if the defense is being lazy getting back.

* Alteration of the delayed penalty rule to provide the offensive team with a power play even if a goal was scored during the delay

What other league uses this rule? Again when the NHL uses this, then maybe it is time for the NCAA to install it in the rule book.

* Changing which end each team defends during an overtime period (goaltenders would now switch ends after the third period)

Haven’t been to too many WCHA or NCAA arenas, but the one’s I have (Kohl Center, DECC & Magness) the student section is right behind the opposing goal in the 3rd period. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter (aka won’t impact any games and some student sections are pathetic), but home ice advantage is nice when a crazy student section is yelling during OT in the opposing team’s end.