Thursday, August 9, 2012

NCAA Rule Changes

Catching up on a few things, we need to take a quick look at the rule changes coming up for the 2012 - 2013 season. The Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved these changes back on July 19th and are aimed at increasing offensive opportunities.

The Rule Changes I Like:

A goal that deflects off of an attacking player's skates will be allowed unless it was intentionally kicked in. Basically, if you are just standing there now and it hits off your foot, the goal counts. This rule already exists in the NHL. Pretty straight forward, the kicking motion is the important thing now. In the past, if it went off a skate, it didn't count. So now if it the puck happens to hit you, it will count as long as you aren't in the motion of kicking it in.

They also approved an overtime procedure that conferences can adopt or competing teams can use b mutual consent to allow for 4 on 4 play. 5 on 5 format is still the default play, but now teams or conferences can change it. I'd prefer they go to a straight 4 on 4 play. I don't like how the shoot-out is used in the CCHA, and I hope the Big 10 doesn't adopt it.

The four officials system (two-refs, two-linesman) will be mandatory for the 2013 - 2014 season. This could be a bad thing, but for safety concerns and the idea that one official can make up for the errors of the other (or they could compound them), I generally think this is a good thing.

The final change is one that really could have helped Michigan State back in the NCAA tournament. The NCAA is now allowing some displacement of the goal posts as long as the posts remain in contact with the pegs (or pins). The posts must have been displaced by the actions of a player. "We want Shegos" (read: referee) must determine that the puck would have entered the net between the normal positions of the goal posts.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you exhibit 'A' of why this is a good rule change:


I love how Melrose & Buccigross spend the first minute or so wondering why there was a review since the puck "never went in".

While it's obvious to say I'm biased as a Spartan, this goal would have counted in the NHL, and it only makes sense. Stuff like this can happen often, and Michigan State has been at the wrong end of this twice in as many seasons. During game one of the 2011 CCHA First Round series in Alaska, the Nanooks scored a disputed goal that the Spartans claim the net popped up. The goal was allowed on the ice and after review. And even though logic says that goal should count (as should MSU's above), there is question as to whether it really should have given how the rule was written at the time. 

In any event, I think they got it right - finally. A goal like this should stand. Now if only they'll penalize defending teams for knocking the net off "unintentionally" despite the fact that no one is within five feet of them, and they are on their heels.

The Rule Changes I Don't Like:

The last major rule change to discuss is that defensive zone hand passes are now illegal. Under the old rule, a hand pass that remained in the defensive zone was legal even if the defending team touched the puck first. That will no longer be allowed, and now you won't be able to change players before the ensuing face-off. 
The reason why this change needs to be questioned is that typically fans like fewer whistles. This looks like this will increase whistles, and it probably will increase scrums along the boards as players try to kick the puck along the boards to their teammates now. This might increase the dangers to players of a head-glass/board collision. 

Fewer whistles are better. This could chop the game up a little bit more, and even though no line changes can occur, I'm not convinced this will increase scoring. I just feel like the NCAA is out in left field with this one, but I suppose it'll sort itself out soon enough.

There was one other change - goal judges are no longer required - but I'm pretty indifferent about this. With the use of instant replay, I'm not sure if this will be a big deal.

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