Monday, March 2, 2015

The 5PPG Plan With One Week Left

Here's what my proposed "5 Points Per Game" plan would have the NCHC standings showing:


  1. UND 13-2-0-2-1-4 78 
  2. Miami 12-1-1-0-0-8 67 
  3. UNO 10-1-3-0-1-7 64 
  4. DU 12-0-1-0-0-9 63 
  5. UMD 9-2-0-3-1-7 60 
  6. SCSU 10-0-0-1-1-10 53 
  7. WMU 4-1-4-1-1-11 39 
  8. CC 2-0-0-2-2-16 16 

 In this system,

  •  UND would have secured the Penrose Cup 
  •  SCSU would still have a shot (with a home sweep of DU and UMD having a poor weekend) at home ice.

Friday, February 6, 2015

What the NCHC needs to change

After watching the UND at UNO series in Omaha last weekend, I'm more convinced than ever that the following changes need to be made:

FIRST: Let’s put the second referee in the press box.

Yes, the press box, and connected wirelessly to the one on the ice.

Under my plan the press box official would call penalties during play through the on ice referee. The on ice official would behave as he does today, but with an earpiece. They would be in constant communication. 

I can rattle off the benefits immediately:
  1. One fewer official on the ice opens up space.
  2. The press box official will be in charge of replay calls so that process should speed up as they’ll be stationed in front of the replay views all the time.
  3. We all know that there are things during the game that happen that are much more easily seen from the higher view of the game: These will be more readily recognized and penalized.
  4. We’ll be able to hang onto the experience of the best of the best tenured officials as they will still be able to contribute to the game even if their physical capabilities to keep up with the speed of the game have diminished.
I can hear folks already explaining why it can’t work.
  1. Player safety: With one fewer official, who’ll break up scrums? Uh, there aren’t supposed to be scrums; and, the eye in the sky will be in position to see everything, take notes, use replay immediately, and ensure the right folks are facing the right penalties.
  2. Not every rink supports it. Really? Every rink has a press box, and replay, already.
  3. The technology is unproven. So? That can be fixed by … proving it out. The NCHC has made the move to go away from goal judges to television replay technology. If the NCHC trusts that, why not trust wireless communications over maybe 400 feet? Redundancies can be built into the technology to ensure it works.
  4. The press box official won’t have a real feel for the tempo of the game and what’s really happening on the ice. That’s why there is still an on ice referee. Plus, so what. Sometimes that feel and adrenaline may encourage officials to let them play (boys will be boys) rather than see how things look from the stands (and on television). Put another way, the press box official will probably tend to call things more to the letter of the book than the “feel” of the game because sometimes the feel gets out of control.

I’d like to see the NCHC pick a few exhibition games and give this a try. I believe it’s time to use the technology advances available to improve the college game. Goal replay is one step. This is the next.

NEXT: It’s time to look at “points” realistically and align them to risk and reward.

I’m not talking goals plus assists; I’m talking about points used in league standings.

I’d like to see every league game worth five points. Yes, five. I know it’s a vast departure from the past, but points really don’t serve a purpose other than sorting out league standings. Points are merely a standings shorthand, an accounting trick. 

If you get 21 wins and win the league title, does it matter if that standings column says “42 points”, “63 points”, “60 points”, or “105 points”? The key is this: You finished first in the standings. No one remembers the points.

Here’s my proposal:

5 – Win in regulation time
4 – Win in overtime
3 – Win in a shootout
2 – Lose a shootout
1 – Lose in overtime
0 – Lose in regulation time

The opponents will say, “You should get nothing if you lose.” What are they getting? “Standings Points” are just an accounting trick to sort out the standings. You don’t “get” those points to hang from rafters.

To show what my proposal would look like here are today’s standings and what they’d look like in this plan:
                W            L              T              Today    My Plan
UNO      10           5              1              32           53
UND      10           5              1              31           52
UMD     9              6              1              28           47
Miami   8              6              1              26           43
Denver 8              7              0              24           40
SCSU     7              8              1              22           37
WMU    4              7              4              19           31
CC           1              13           1              4              7

So what would be the benefit?

You’d have teams playing to win during the whole game. A team would actually benefit by winning in regulation instead of overtime. And instead of going into a shell in overtime to get the “overtime point” and reach a shootout you have a reason to try to win.

It’s a different approach, but it would make the standings clearer and probably reduce the need tiebreakers to set the seeds at the end of the season.