Unverified Voracity Knocks The Net Off With Its Mind

Submitted by Brian on February 3rd, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Visit from some guy. Someone at TSN—the Canadian ESPN, eh?—took in the Saturday Notre Dame-Michigan game and reported back in volume. Yost did not burn his ears off:

t's been a long time since I last traveled to Michigan's Yost Arena to see a hockey game, as I did on the weekend, and it was about as much fun as I remembered.

The road trip weekend with longtime friends Geoff, Brian and Sparky was a blast, as the energy in Yost Arena makes it a must-see for hockey fans.

I remembered thinking that it was really cool to have a band playing Hail to the Victors during the game the last time I was at Yost (to see the Western Michigan Broncos upset the powerhouse Wolverines in the early 1990s) and it still seemed that way now as the combination of the band and student section kept things lively throughout and was rip-roaring during the third period.

It's kind of novel to have a third party report back without breaking down into tears after hearing Yost's PG-13 penalty cheer (which I still think should be stopped or modified but holy crap some people need to chill).

Elsewhere the guy claims that college hockey "stifles creativity," probably because he's watching a really good Jeff Jackson team. (He does disclaim with "at least on this night.") That's an annoying criticism, as college hockey has a rep for deploying little skilled ninjas that can't find a home in the rough and tumble CHL, or whatever, and that's used as a tool to bash the development potential of college hockey. But when you get a game like Michigan-ND, that's stifling creativity. You can't win.

Le sigh. This doesn't make me feel better and probably won't make you feel better, but Mike Spath has confirmed with CCHA officials that both calls against Notre Dame were incorrect. The first:

The official ruling from the CCHA is any puck directed in by a skate, regardless of intent, regardless of kicking motion or not, is not allowed. However, the call on the ice was a goal because no official saw the puck deflect in off the skate.

So that Miller goal earlier in the year was correctly waved off (despite what appeared to be an allowance for it in the rules) and the CCHA has basically declared all goals that come off an attacking player's skate to be null and void. Okay, the officials on the ice missed it—annoying—and they weren't allowed to use the angle that clearly showed the kicking motion—also annoying but not their fault.

It's the waved-off Michigan goal that really gets me:

The neutral-zone referee thought he saw the net come off and blew the play dead before the puck crossed the goal line.  …

CCHA sources admit that the neutral-zone referee should not have blown his whistle when he did, remarking "You have to trust your partner and the deep-zone referee, in this case, was in the proper position to make the call. You only act in that manner if your fellow official isn't in position, if he fell down or is racing down the ice." So essentially, the official on top of the play did not blow the whistle and was rendered useless when the neutral-zone referee blew the whistle prematurely.

There's your two-referee system in action. Here it was actually the veteran ref, Brian Aaron, who assumed his partner six inches from the net couldn't tell if it was knocked off. And even if he didn't the proper action was to let anything not obvious go and review it later. The net never even trembles in the video. Very frustrating.

Meanwhile, Spath predicts Mitera plays against Ferris State and no sooner. He is "behind schedule" according to Red.

Wait, does this mean Scooter has cancer? New Big Ten director of officials Bill Carollo talked with ESPN's Adam Rittenberg recently. Naturally, the Brandon Minor touchdown-like-substance against Michigan State came up:

The good news is no one's died of cancer on that play at Michigan because the right team won the game. Had a mistake with replay given six points when we shouldn't have or vice versa and decide the game, it would have been a much bigger problem. So we were a little bit lucky.

Indeed, and it goes down with the Domata Peko fumble return as the most egregiously awful but thankfully meaningless touchdowns in Big Ten history. I still maintain that the league's policy of staffing the replay box with decrepit ex-officials is a bad idea. Sure, have some guy who knows the rulebook inside and out up there (or, in this case, doesn't) but pair him with someone still amongst the living.

History of shirtless creepy panic. Bleed Scarlet has an excellent piece on how recruiting came to be the way it is, and a roundtable I answered a few questions for. I'd like to highlight this idea cribbed from Vijay of iBlog For Cookies:

Do you favor an early signing period in college football? Would such a proposal help or hurt prospective student athletes?

Brian Cook - “Sort of. I’d like a nonbinding letter of intent program. You sign it and 1) you can’t take official visits to other schools and 2) other schools are not allowed to contact you in any way whatsoever. You can rescind it at any time up until the official signing date. This system seems a lot better than the current one — you’re not really a commit until you sign, and that has some meaning — but doesn’t lock players in any earlier than they get locked in now.”

Anyone see any issues with this setup? I think it's a bulletproof improvement on the free-for-all we've got going now.

Etc.: Varsity Blue did a Life on the Margins for Michigan's entire season. As you might expect, it's ugly.



February 3rd, 2009 at 11:51 AM ^

Maybe a school should be allowed to contact a recruit once via mail just to let them know that they are interested. If the recruit wants to talk to them he can call them back. If he doesn't want to talk to that school, he can ignore the letter and not worry about it again.

I am thinking about Shaw and Crabtree last year. If they had signed this agreement, they would have no way of finding out that new schools are showing interest. Crabtree really wanted to come to Michigan, but committed to Purdue because he didn't receive an offer from Michigan.

Overall, though, I agree with the strategy.


February 3rd, 2009 at 1:00 PM ^

Mr. Cullen certainly didn't pick the best night for seeing free-wheeling, college hockey. Jackson is a helluva coach and he has a great team, but that tight-checking style certainly doesn't lend itself to creative play.

It would have been better if he would have explicitly pointed out that this wasn't a typical college game, but he gets partial credit for the "at least on this night" comment, as well as alluding later on that it is Notre Dame's style that suppresses the entertainment value.


February 3rd, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

I like the idea of using early enrollment as your early signing period. Michigan already has seven early signees in school. I do not believe they would have gotten signed committments from guys like Jones, Graves, etc in an early signing period anyway. Maybe Turner, Roe, Gallon, and those guys who have remained solid, but no one is concerned about these guys committing anyway.

I say reward the early signee with a chance to participate in spring practice, and consider everyone else a soft committment until they sign in February.


February 3rd, 2009 at 1:38 PM ^

(1) Early enrollment only happens a month or so before signing day... not much of an "early" signing.
(2) Not everyone can or wants to enroll early. Those who struggle with grades (but not at the level of non-qualifying) probably need to stay in HS for one more semester to get more polished (in an educational sense). They should have the same early signing opportunity as the early enrollment athletes.
(3) Or maybe they just like HS and what to stick around to graduate with their friends.

In summary: Early enrollment doesn't occur much earlier than signing day and isn't for everyone.


February 3rd, 2009 at 3:08 PM ^

At what point does the nonbinding letter get rescinded? Would the recruit have to declare that somehow or would it be null and void the moment he called up another coach?

The only issue I see is the immense pressure a recruit would be under to sign that NBLOI. The moment he verbaled to the coaches, they'd be faxing that bad boy to his school and having him sign it. "You're not really committed unless you sign it" would be the attitude from a lot of coaches, including, probably, RR, given his attitude about taking visits elsewhere.

I would probably, therefore, loosen the terms of the NBLOI so that the only prohibited action is an official visit. Much easier to enforce than "no contact" given the ridiculous things coaches do to circumvent rules like that, as well as the accidental contact that can happen and turn into a recruiting violation. I think coaches would be very self-policing about recruiting kids that signed the NBLOI anyway because the opportunity cost of recruiting a committed player is pretty high. The official visit ban is probably all that's necessary, because most kids that are a threat to decommit are the ones taking official visits elsewhere.