The Seawolves have a (5-minute) major problem

Posted on February 2, 2013 

Look, we get that UAA coach Dave Shyiak feels strongly that physical play is being taken out of college hockey -- he's expressed that belief on many occasions.

That argument can certainly be made. And so can the argument that erring on the side of safety, which on-ice officials seem to be doing increasingly, makes sense, especially in the areas of major penalties for boarding, checking from behind and contact to the head.

We can debate forever whether some of the major penalties called against UAA this season have really been worthy of five minutes, or were more suitable to being called two-minute minors.

What is inarguable, though, is UAA has done a lousy job of adjusting to officiating. After all, the Seawolves have racked a remarkable nine major penalties this season for either checking from behind (6 of them), contact to the head (2) and boarding (1) -- in just 25 games. (The latest came in Friday's 2-2 tie against Colorado College, when the Tigers also took a major) Yes, the Seawolves trying to be an aggressive, physical team, and we get that, because such a tactic can slow a more skilled opponent. But there's a difference between grit and a stubborn lack of sense.

Look, the Seawolves know officials are on the lookout for major penalties. They know officials are going to err on the side of majors rather than minor penalties. Seems simple: Dial it down a notch, particularly when approaching an opponent who is near the boards and has his back turned, or could turn his back at the last second. Geez, bear-hug the guy into the wall if it comes to that -- any subsequent holding call would almost certainly be a minor.

What makes the major penalties UAA has taken tougher to swallow is that they invariably occur on places on the rink where the Seawolves are not in danger of being scored on. An opponent facing the side boards is not a danger -- it's not like the guy is standing on the edge of the crease, puck on stick blade, ready to score a lay-up.

With a 13-game winless streak (0-11-2), the Seawolves have enough problems without complicating things with frequent majors.

Also, it's worth noting UAA's opponents have taken three major penalties to UAA's nine this season.

You can blame officials. You can blame the "softening'' of hockey. But nine majors in 25 games? That's on the Seawolves and their bench boss.

 

 

 

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