Rules Committee Wraps With Few Changes

The Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee met earlier this month in San Francisco, and came away with little in the way of changes, and nothing of major significance.

“We looked over the book again to make corrections, but we didn’t change anything — nothing earth shattering,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi, a member of the committee.

As expected, the committee did review the crease rule, per the recommendation of the coaches coming out of the American Hockey Coaches Association annual convention in Naples, Fla., in April.

The crease issue came to a head during the Frozen Four, when Maine had a goal disallowed during the championship game because a player had part of his skate in the crease. College hockey, for years, has used a strict crease rule, something the NHL got away from after the controversy following the 1999 Stanley Cup playoffs. In the NHL, video replay can no longer be used to overturn goals because of crease violations, relying instead on the judgment of the officals to decide whether the violation caused notable interference with the goaltender.

“We talked about the crease rule, but we’re in a different situation in college hockey [than the NHL],” Blasi said. “We don’t have replay all the time, we don’t have 10 different angles, and there’s safety issues.

“There was no formal vote. We talked about it, but the feeling was, we’re going to leave it as is and see what happens.”

Could college hockey just simply adopt the NHL rule?

“The NHL rule is like 10 pages long,” Blasi said. “And they have the ability to have video replay every night.”

There was a continued discussion about the reduction in scoring in hockey, especially in relation to obstruction. The ultimate conclusion is that it’s hard to legislate a change in that area.

“Our league [the CCHA] is trying to crack down on obstruction, but it’s hard,” Blasi said. “Personally there are a few games I think it’s bad, other games it’s good. It depends on who you’re playing against and how the game is going. Coaches are trying to win and the skill level is not the same. It’s been that way forever.”