Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Roundtable: Improving College Hockey

Bruce Ciskie (the second-best WCHA radio guy) has posted on his blog and forwarded a series of questions to other bloggers as to whether the College game needs improvement. It's roundtable-style so visit the other blogs to see their replies. Here's mine:
Has the college game truly seen an increase in stickwork in recent years? Do officials do a good job of calling "clutch and grab" infractions consistently? What do you think of the checking from behind "crackdown"? What NHL rules change would you like to see adopted in college hockey, and which one do you want college hockey to say away from?
I've grouped these four questions together so I can also answer a broader question about evolving the game through rule changes and focused enforcement. I don't believe there has been an increase in recent years in the amount of stickwork by players. I'd say that there's been somewhat of a steady decline in stickwork over the last 15 years. Calls for better enforcement of one rule or another are an annual occurrence in Florida at the coaches convention. No doubt the political nature of getting 59 people together to discuss the season leads to grievances being expressed and acted upon. And yes, it's a very good thing that they call more stick-related penalties. And yes, who could possibly argue that strictly enforcing CFB's isn't a good thing? There were definitely attempts by some players to take advantage of the rule by turning just before a hit and buying a call; but I think the referees were understanding that by seasons end. I understand one possible rule change for this coming season could be to give referees the ability to differentiate between CFB calls and allowing them to give 10 minute misconducts in some circumstances (like perhaps when some Joe Jensen-wannabe turns his back). I'm good with that if it's so. So I'd have to say that the referees lived up to the letter of the law with their enforcement. It was the most consistent they've been about anything.

As to the broader implications of dicking with the rules to evolve the game as the NHL has done? Don't. Please. The NHL improved itself greatly by opening up the play through stricter enforcement and removing the red line with it's most recent rule changes. That's clear. Good move NHL ... the D-1 game has been better than yours for years glad to see ya learned something. But at the same time it demeaned the spirit of the game with the whole stupid shootout. I guess that's what it comes down to for many people; a tie doesn't satiate their lust to see a victor; they simply can't appreciate the effort of both teams. Why even play the rest of the game? We already have the National SlamDunk Association instead of the NBA. Why not just turn the NHL into the NSL? They could make the ice sheets even smaller and sell the extra seats to bored NASCAR and wrestling fans. You wouldn't need those stupid panes of plexiglass either. So that's why I'd beg the powers that be when it comes to D-1 hockey to feel free to continue on with the yearly focused enforcement stuff ... that's all fine. But if the shootout goes through and becomes part of college hockey then my love for the game will be greatly diminished. I'm all good with a tie. Don't fix what isn't broken. Please.
What do you think of the increased use of replay in college hockey?
I think we've seen that occasionally even on a replay a referee may still make a bad call. But overall its best that a team that scores a goal is actually rewarded for doing so. Those situations where teams are awarded goals that they didn't actually score occur infrequently enough that I support continued use of replay.
What is one random change you'd like to see made in hockey?
Four games added to the total games allowed. UAA could likely schedule 4 more home games if this were to be. The WCHA schedule limits UAA fan's chances to see many teams outside the conference other than UAF. I think there are plenty of schools that don't have regular access to the schedule exemption playing in Alaska affords a UAA/UAF opponent and they'd be more than happy to travel up here for a series (I'd imagine UAA wouldn't object to some sort of subsidy for the travel even ... god knows they've done plenty of that in the past). I don't see how it wouldn't benefit most everyone. I know the schedule was reduced originally because it was felt that too many games detracted from the Student part of being a Student/Athlete. But that was at a time where so many resources weren't available to students on the internet. Students these days can keep up their studies on the road easier and more efficiently than in years past. They have the tools and technology available now to ensure it. So let's have more games eh? Ok then. It's the 21st Century already.

I'd also like to see a living breathing Big Ten Hockey Conference (BTHC). I see it as being inevitable. Big Ten alumni who love the college game will never give up their dream; and eventually someone will convince Penn State to start a D-1 program. That'd be a 5 team conference and there'd be a good possibility that those 5 Administrators could convince another big ten team to join within a couple of years. It could still be years down the road. Many perhaps? Few? I dunno but I do know I'd rather see it sooner than later. Why? Because if it is going to happen then let it happen now. Any prolongation of the whole issue just means having to listen to crowing and carping and moaning from the pro-BTHC crowd.

5 comments:

Runninwiththedogs said...

"Why even play the rest of the game? We already have the National SlamDunk Association instead of the NBA. Why not just turn the NHL into the NSL? They could make the ice sheets even smaller and sell the extra seats to bored NASCAR and wrestling fans."

My friend, you are at your finest.

Donald said...

Nah ... I've been making fun of the summer rule change crowd for long enough that it really doesn't take much effort.

Hopefully my first post after the USCHO suspension will be me at my "finest". Look for it June 4th.

Donald said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Runninwiththedogs said...

Oh man. Is it going to get you banned for good?

Donald said...

LOL. If they boot me for the thread that I start on Jun 4th then their board would be the last place I'd want to be. It should just be mostly funny. The concept is funnier to me than the actual text may turn out to be but I'm going with it. It's been sitting on my desktop for at least two weeks now.

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