Will changes increase scoring?
Scoring has plummeted in college hockey. Last summer, the NCAA did something about it. The rules committee approved several rules changes in July, which focus on increasing scoring chances. The two major points of emphasis this season are protect...
Scoring has plummeted in college hockey. Last summer, the NCAA did something about it.
The rules committee approved several rules changes in July, which focus on increasing scoring chances.
The two major points of emphasis this season are protection of the puck carrier and faceoff protocol.
The NCAA attempted to crack down on obstruction four years ago, but the committee believes that referees haven't gone far enough when it comes to protecting the puck carrier.
"Officials have held a strong standard of obstruction fouls away from the puck carrier in recent seasons as requested," the committee wrote. "In reviewing how the game is being called at other levels, it has become apparent that more emphasis needs to be placed on the puck carrier and allowing players to showcase offensive creativity and skill.
"Officials are instructed to call fouls when the puck carrier's hand or arms are impeded or held and not require the puck carrier to fight through such actions to continue an advantage gained."
In order to effectively tighten up on obstruction, the NCAA will implement a two-referee, two-linesman system. The two-and-two system was experimented with last season and Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches were overwhelmingly in favor of it.
Other rules changes this season:
n Officials have been instructed to watch for interference and obstruction immediately after faceoffs.
n If a team ices the puck or knocks the net off in the defensive zone, it will not be allowed to change lines.
n Icing will be waved off if the referee deems the pass was attainable by a player on the attacking side of the red line. Attainable is defined as the puck being on the ice and within a stick length of the player.
n All players, including backup goalies, must wear helmets on the bench. Last season, Anchorage backup Matthew Gordon suffered a career-ending eye injury when he was hit with a puck while sitting on the bench.
n If a goalie plays the puck while a team is offsides, it will be delayed offsides. In the past, the whistle blew right away.
n Kicked goals were redefined. If a goal is kicked or directed into the goal with a skate moving toward the goal, it will be disallowed. It is OK if the player is in the act of stopping, though. When in doubt, the goal will be disallowed.
n Diving was redefined and the committee added a penalty for embellishment.
Lastly, the NCAA gave the OK for conferences to add shootouts for league games. Games that go to shootouts will still be deemed ties for NCAA selection purposes, but shootout results may be counted toward league standings.
The WCHA men's league will not use shootouts this season, but the Central Collegiate Hockey Association will try it out.
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .