The NCAA recently sent out a release detailing the proposed rule changes this year. More often than not, all of these will go through the rubber stamping in July.
When they proposed to eliminate the ability to ice the puck while shorthanded two years ago, that drew so much criticism that it was tossed away in July, but that was a rare circumstance.
So expect to see these rules in play for next season.
There’s one catch — there really isn’t anything drastic. These are probably the most subtle changes I’ve seen in a rules change year (they are allowed every two years) in the decade that I’ve been covering UND.
1. POINT OF EMPHASIS: Embellishment and delaying after an icing call.
THOUGHTS: Both are much, much needed. Embellishment has become rampant in college hockey. So has delaying after an icing call. You’ll see coaches and players constantly run wrong players out on the ice after an icing and put the linesmen in a bad spot trying to get the right guys on the ice.
The officials will be instructed to give a team a warning the first time they purposely delay after an icing call. The second time, it will be a minor penalty. That’s actually exactly how the NCHC officials handled it during the Omaha-UND game where coach Dean Blais got tossed. Perhaps they shouldn’t have ejected Blais, but they got the minor penalty right.
Diving and embellishment have got to be the hardest thing for officials to call. They do start to get an idea by the end of the year on which players are most apt to embellish.
2. Faceoff Location: Offensive Scoring Opportunity: If the offensive team is attempting to score and the puck goes out of play, the faceoff will remain in the attacking zone.
THOUGHTS: I like it. If you shoot the puck crossbar and out, it’s an in-the-zone faceoff. If someone deflects one out — on either team — it’s in the zone. That also might cut down some discussion time on who deflected a puck out.
3. Goal pegs: 10-inch goal pegs that are anchored into the ice or floor must be in place at all NCAA levels by the 2016-17 season.
THOUGHTS: This mirrors the NHL rule. Seems like a tiny detail, but man, I saw a lot of nets being knocked off easily at the end of this season.
Other suggested changes….
Hand Pass by Faceoff Player: The players taking a faceoff are not allowed to use their hand to play the puck. A violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty, similar to the NHL rule.
Faceoff Procedure: The defending team’s faceoff player shall be required to put the stick down first. Previously, the attacking team was required to do so. Center ice faceoffs will continue to require the visiting team to put the stick down first.
Faceoff Location: High stick/hand pass: In these cases, the ensuing faceoff will be one zone closer to offending team’s goal.
Video Replay: Several changes were made to the criteria for allowing video replay and the process followed:
• It is reviewable to determine if a goal was scored before a penalty occurred.
• If an offsides or too many men on the ice penalty is missed and a goal is scored, it is reviewable until the puck leaves the offensive zone. This replaces the previous wording that only allowed the review to occur if the missed play directly led to a goal.
• It was clarified that video review may be used without the restriction of games that are being broadcast on television.
Penalty Shot/Shootout: During a shootout or penalty shot, if the goal becomes dislodged by the goalkeeper, the referee shall either award a goal (if intentional or if the goal was obvious and imminent) or allow the team to shoot again.
Penalty Shot: If a player awarded a penalty shot is injured and unable to take the shot, one of the players on the ice at the time of the infraction shall be chosen to shoot.
Look-Up Line: The committee approved the use of a warning-track style line intended to positively impact safety near the boards. The use of this line will not be mandatory, but is permissible.
One thing you’ll notice: No changes to overtime. In Florida, there was a lot of discussion about it — whether to go 4×4 or to extend overtime to eight minutes, 10 minutes… even 20 minutes.
With basically every junior, every pro league and the IIHF all using 4×4 overtimes, it surprises me that college hockey is not able to get any momentum behind using it.