hockey observer Ice Cube (hey, the boys in N.W.A. used to
rock the Gretzky-era Los Angeles Kings gear back in the
"Straight Outta Compton" day) once rapped, "Check yo'self
before you wreck yo'self." Not to be an alarmist, but the
forces behind this season's crackdown on checking from behind
– transgressors are issued a five-minute major and a game
misconduct or game disqualification for their misdeeds –
would be wise to heed Cube's flow.
you go on a “Won’t somebody think of the children?” tirade,
follow the logic. No one opposes ensuring players’ safety
which, in theory, is the intent of this point of emphasis
– their term, not ours. But unlike last season’s focus on
ridding the game of obstruction, this most recent effort
carries a severe punishment.
From) Behind The Numbers
per 1.62 games
per 1.56 games
per 2.28 games
per 1.96 games
per 2.15 games
1 per 1.93
though it wasn’t their preference, could manage the extra
special teams situations that accompanied the obstruction
crackdown. Dealing with a bench shortened when one of your
guys gets tossed for checking from behind is a bit different.
In the roughly 200 games played through the first five weeks
of the season, players have been whistled for checking-from-behind
majors 107 times (see chart, right). In layman’s – or for
you Union fans out there, Leaman’s – terms, if you’ve got
tickets for both games of Backyard State’s series against
Out-of-Town Tech this weekend, you’ll see one kid get the
aforementioned forces aren’t likely to have an epiphany
based on an argument formulated by an antiestablishment
hack in Michigan armed with little more than anecdotal evidence
gleaned from box scores and a handful of eyewitness reports.
"We expect some growing pains, but at the end of the day,
it’s the responsibility of the pursuing checker not to hit
anybody from behind,” CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos told
INCH's James Jahnke last month.
coach Don Lucia offered a simple compromise, last week telling
Dean Spiros of the Minneapolis Star Tribune he'd
like to see a minor penalty and 10-minute misconduct doled
out for non-violent offenses, not unlike football's separate
punishments for facemasking based on severity.
tinkering with the rules during the season isn’t an option.
That said, I would keep the following in mind as the current
point of emphasis continues.
WALLACE WOULD BE IMPRESSED
Congratulations to KMSP-TV in Minneapolis for last
week's hard-hitting, undercover expose on – gasp! – underage
drinking by members of the University of Minnesota men's
hockey team at a local bar.
you serious? College kids younger than 21 consuming alcohol
and possessing fake IDs? This is what counts as news in
the Twin Cities? I can't wait for the series on people who
allow their pets to deuce in their neighbor's yards and
don't clean it up.
most unfortunate outcome of this entire episode is that
these kids – and you can find out who was singled out on
your own – were exploited by a bunch of unscrupulous, no-talent
hacks during November sweeps. For the uninitiated, local
broadcasters use the viewership numbers collected during
sweeps to set advertising rates for the rest of the year,
and it's why we get stale three-hour sitcom finales and
the sixth Cher retirement concert in November, February
the story wasn't about underage drinking. It was about the
underage drinkers. Why feature the 19-year-old business
student who's in danger of flunking out of school because
he stays out until 2 a.m. every night and has maxed out
two credit cards for drinking money? We can secretly videotape
a couple hockey players having a beer!
campuses nationwide, binge drinking has reached epidemic
proportions. KMSP could have tackled a serious social problem
among college students. Rather, it chose to turn it into
the journalistic equivalent of junior high students passing
a folded piece of notebook paper back and forth in history
class. Don't bother waiting by the mailbox, KMSP, because
that Peabody Award ain't coming.
GOTTA GO SOMEWHERE…
of like “Fries at the Bottom of the Bag”. But instead of
fries, the bottom of this bag has a Jolly Rancher, a token
for the batting cages, a bottle cap and a losing Mega Millions
Heatley apparently took a few marketing classes during his
two years at Wisconsin. The current Ottawa Senator appeared
on “Hockey Night in Canada” a couple weeks ago following
his team’s 8-1 rout of Toronto. Heatley kept tugging at
the hat he wore backwards on his head, making sure the camera
got a good look at the cap’s embroidered Easton logo.
Superior State scored 10 goals in its win at Western Michigan
earlier this month. Wow. I remember the last time the Lakers
scored 10 goals. It happened last season…but it took all
of October and most of November.
coach, voice of
reason Mike Schafer
sidekick, Jedi mind trick purveyor Silent Bob
compiling data for the checking-from-behind piece, we learned
that Boston University’s John Laliberte received a minor
penalty in the Terriers’ game against UMass Lowell for spraying
the goalie. Feel free to insert your own Whizzinator joke
but one member of the U.S. team competing in last week’s
TUI Nations Cup in Germany is an ex-collegian who now plays
in Europe (former Providence standout Jon DiSalvatore, who
plays for the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate in Peoria,
is the lone exception). The Americans dropped a 7-2 decision
to the host Germans Wednesday. Maybe Jeff Sauer, the U.S.
coach, shouldn’t have given the start in goal to erstwhile
North Dakota star Karl Goehring. Like Sgt. Shultz in “Hogan’s
Heroes”, we see nothing.
of the U.S. entry at the TUI Cup, former Maine Black Bears
Chris and Peter Ferraro are on the roster. The twin brothers
also play for the same team in the German Elite League,
which got us to thinking – do you think there's ever a time
when one of the Ferraros says to the other, "Dude, do we
always have to play for the same team?"
his CCHA Notebook this week, INCH scribbler James Jahnke
used the Theory of Transitive Victory – I just made up that
term – to show Penn State’s club hockey team is better than
Ohio State. The Nittany Lions posted an exhibition win against
Robert Morris, which in turn beat Western Michigan, which
swept Ohio State two weekends ago. Nice, but taking the
theory one step further, Ohio State beat Colorado College,
the third-ranked team in INCH’s Power Rankings, last month.
Guess we need to tweak those rankings a bit, eh?