NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey: Three Things I’d Change

In yet another example of how I may be finally getting older (but not wiser), I’ve decided to forgo the tradition of an annual April Fools column (favorites from years past can be found here) in favor of some of my real and actual thoughts about my favorite sport. What follows are three items that I believe merit serious consideration:

1. Adopt the NHL rule regarding goaltenders handling the puck. This one is quite simple: during the off-season, paint the trapezoid behind each net marking the “Goalkeeper’s Restricted Area”. Give teams one season to get used to the change, and then begin calling two-minute delay of game penalties for netminders who play the puck behind the goal line but outside that area. If the idea is to prepare teams (and particularly goaltenders and defensemen) for the next level, this is an easy but effective move.

2. Eliminate the “bonus” power play. This rule has bothered me since its inception: a team about to go on a power play has possession of the puck, and a delayed penalty is signaled (and rightly so). The attacking team will invariably pull their goaltender for an extra skater since it is nearly impossible (but not impossible) for a team to allow a goal in this situation. Here’s where I disagree with the current state of things: a team which scores on the delayed penalty situation is still awarded a power play. This makes absolutely no sense to me. The whole point of delaying the whistle is to extend a team’s power play time; not to award a team two separate man advantage opportunities. With so many games decided by two or fewer goals, a “two-for-one” on a single minor penalty is too big a swing.

3. A player on the receiving end of a major penalty (contact to the head, checking from behind, etc.) should not be allowed on the ice during the subsequent five-minute power play.
It seems to me that the time that elapses during that man advantage situation should be the minimum amount required for medical staff to complete the concussion protocol and assess other injuries. This change would also potentially deter players from laying on the ice longer than necessary in order to convince officials that a major penalty (rather than a minor) should be called.

As always, thank you for reading. I welcome your thoughts on these ideas as well as any other changes you would like to see. Follow me on Twitter (@DBergerHockey) for more information and insight. Here’s to hockey!

2 thoughts on “NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey: Three Things I’d Change”

  1. Dave,

    I dont disagree with you on points 1 or 2, though with point 2 I do wonder how many goals are scored during the delayed penalty in a season; or how many are score on the delayed penalty AND the ensuing penalty kill.

    Point 3 doesn’t make a ton of sense to me … unless you are going to allow the ref to make a discretionary call based on injury. There are plenty of times where someone takes a cheap shot, hit from behind or to the head, and bounces right back up because they are fine. Contact to the head is “potentially” dangerous, but does not cause injury in EVERY instance. Why punish the player on the receiving end of a cheap shot by not allowing them to be on the ice, during a critical point in the game. If they need need further medical assessment, that should be up to the medical staff.

    If concern is for players that are diving or elaborating on a cheap hit, then that is a whole separate issue where refs should be assessing an additional penalty for diving or embellishment.

  2. In the Women’s national championship game in March 2014, Clarkson scored with the goalie pulled leading into a power play where they scored; they wound up winning by 1.

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