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2011-2012 NCAA Points of Emphasis

The NCAA updates their rulebook every two years, and this summer was an off-year, so there will be no new rules in college hockey next season, but the Rules Committee did attempt to clarify a few rules, specifically in regards to controversial contact-to-the-head plays, as well as point out some areas of the rulebook that should be given special attention next year.

There's really no changes to the contact to the head rule. You still can't do it. That's about it. It's reminiscent of the time the WCHA asked the Rules Committee to explain, preferably in very small words, I would assume, what exactly "zero tolerance" meant.

Meanwhile, the committee will also recommend putting a greater emphasis on diving and embellishment penalties, something which is greatly needed, especially in the WCHA. It would be nice to see diving called as a stand-alone infraction more often, since the odd chance that a dive will draw coincidental minors isn't much of a disincentive.

Finally, the committee listed a few ideas that could come up next time the rule book is open to changes. Here's a couple that caught my eye.

Overtime: They'll discuss 4-on-4 for OT, and possibly a longer OT period. I'm strongly in favor of a 20-minute OT period. The game isn't that much longer, but it's not so short that a team can go into a shell and play for a tie. I like 4-on-4 hockey because it makes defensive system play a little harder, but I'm not sure I like changing the rules of the game for overtime.

Visors: This is a debate we've had many times before. I'm sure College Hockey Inc.'s Paul Kelly was at Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. After a visored Steve Stamkos got his face destroyed by a slap shot and returned with a full cage, Kelly really should have gone down and informed Stamkos how he was actually in more danger by playing with a full cage.

Hand passes: They either want to allow them everywhere or allow them nowhere. In theory, I like the idea of allowing them, because it would create more offense and fewer whistles, but I see that being a challenge to officiate, and I don't think the NCAA would stray too far from the rest of the hockey world in their rules.

Officiating teamwork: Allowing an official five feet from a play to wave off a penalty called by an official 95 feet from the play would add years to life.