Sunday, July 13, 2008

Penalty Frustration

The Select 17 Festival finished up Sunday afternoon in St. Cloud, and one of the biggest stories to come out of the event wasn't the fantastic play of the players involved, but the absurd number of penalties called in every game. Officials were apparently under orders to call things tight, and they took that directive to the extreme, leading to quite a bit of frustration from everyone else in St. Cloud.

That frustration reached a boiling point during the last game of the day on Saturday in the game between Team Black and Team Red. Black was leading 6-2 in the second half of the game. Red was whistled for two straight penalties. The first call was fairly weak. The second penalty was absolutely abysmal, and apparently it was the breaking point for Red. Red called timeout, and when they broke from the timeout, they left the goalie on the bench. When the referee dropped the puck, the Red team just stood around and let Black score into an empty net. The face-off came back out to center, and again, Red left the goalie pulled, and when the puck was dropped, Red just stood around again. Black took the puck, awkwardly skated towards the net and scored another easy goal.

I'm not sure that was the best way for the Red team to handle that situation, especially since those poor calls were consistent in every game I saw, but it does highlight a problem that USA Hockey needs to work on. I love the Select Festivals because there is so much great hockey crammed into such a short period of time, but when teams are intentionally allowing goals to protest bad calls, and PA announcers feel the need to announce when both penalty boxes are empty(yeah, that happened too), there's a problem with how the games are called. It's frustrating for the players, coaches, scouts, and fans that are there to watch. Hopefully USA Hockey gets this fixed, so it doesn't ruin a great event.

I'm still working on the full rundown of the event, and the players there, which should be done sometime this week.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. The games were nearly unwatchable. It was like a basketball game with all the whistles.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I understand wanting to curb obstruction but that was just sad. Breathe on anyone, to the box you go.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, fyi, I believe USA Hockey should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for this new "enforcement initiative" they started a few years ago. It has created a situation where every game is an adventure in refereeing because USA hockey started with too many enforcement standards and there is no clear directive (nor subsequent, consistent enforcement) on generally how these standards are to be implemented. And I don't blame the referees, they are stuck with this thankless task of implementing an ill conceived system of standards with no leadership from the powers to be at Colorado Springs. And just a final fyi, the coaches from the Red Team should be ashamed of themselves as well for pulling such a childish, sophomoric stunt at a national festival. They dishonored the game, the referees and the players (who are still kids) from both teams. What an absolute disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Love the pulled goalie call by the Red's team coach.

He might not get asked back, but I don't think he care's. He's a Head coach in the AHL.

Anonymous said...

Enter the reason why the United States simply can't hang with Canada and why we are starting to produce a bunch of p*ssies for players.

USA Hockey has this European-based initiative and they if they had it their way womens hockey rules for contact would be instituted for the mens game.

The Canadians are laughing at our current system of hockey. USA Hockey has this idea that we should be a nation of highly skilled European style players. Which is IMPOSSIBLE because the vast majority of American minor hockey coaches are not properly educated in skill development and are incapable of training players to be highly skilled.

The USA Hockey Player Development Philosophy is a total mess. We produce players of only moderate skill level but now they are starting to play like (not mention protected like) a bunch of ladies when it comes to physical contact.

RR said...

Really lame response to a bad situation by the Red team coaches. Nice life lesson though.

Be careful what you wish for with a desire for closer scrutiny of obstruction infractions etc. Pretty soon hockey will be either like watching girls hockey or soccer. No contact allowed or any contact deemed to be an infraction must be called, no discretion allowed.

Referees have a hard enough job already. Why force them to slow down the best game around by calling MORE PENALTIES. The worst hockey is when the ref has the puck in his hand more than the players have it on their sticks.

Referees are there only to facilitate the show, not to be the show.

stickboy1956 said...

Who was the coach of the Red team - is it top secret?

Anonymous said...

I was not at the festival but I would say that the game was already over at 6 - 2. Rather than having to showcase the PK, the coach probably wanted to protest and get back to even strength play, thus a better display of skills for the players and scouts involved.

Anonymous said...

Very observent post 12:37. I agree 100%. Nowadays these things are showcases for scouts, coaches, etc. You're not really showcasing your true talents(maybe goalie) when your 5 x 3. Yet another reason why they should go back to the district format. I don't think this happens with a Team Minnesota vs. Team Michigan game. And the fact they are actual fun to watch!!

Anonymous said...

red team coaches were: jack capuano- bridgeport sound tigers AHL and chad cassel univ of illinois CSCHL

stickboy1956 said...

Does anyone know if Coach Capuano is related to Max Capuano, a player on the Red team?

http://www.usahockey.com/Season/TournamentRosterPoints.aspx?TeamID=5388

Anonymous said...

What was the reasoning USA hockey for getting rid of the district format to begin with? Anyone know?

Pat said...

News flash......

Officials were both Americans and Canadians. The officiating portion of this camp was actually run by the NHL. This contributed to some confusion and difficulty identifying, let alone enforcing, a standard.

Just wanted to enlighten the concerned masses.

Anonymous said...

Districts like MN & MI were having "training camps" before the festivals. Complaints were coming from the families of the players and the districts that could not hold these "training camps" due to logistics.

I agree I think the level of play was more competitive with the old format. But juvenile district administrators that thought winning this event really stoked their already inflated egos ruined it for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Look at the leading scorers for the festival. Look how far you have to go to find NTDP forward! The program should be re-evaluated.

Anonymous said...

max capuano is the son of dave cap. who is brothers with jack

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought as others who have commented about the players from the NTDP and the fact they are not at the top (though in fairness, it appears the "best of the best" were not in attendance in this age group or the 16s - moreso the 16s); however, I think the results of the NHL draft, Selects, etc. does bring to light the overall impact of the NTDP and outside of their very top, top players doing well, is it worth the price tag for such a very few that are benefitting. Is there a reason that more of the top players are turning this program down, especially from places like MN,and are opting to stay and play at their high schools). I really hope that this program is given more scrutiny by people outside of the USA Hockey realm. I think the majority of the top/elite players would receive similar benefit, if not more, from playing in the USHL. You could certainly comprise age appropriate teams from the USHL with its top players that would be just as competitive in international competition as the NTDP (in my opinion anyway).

444 said...

More Minnesotans would join the USNDT if it were based in Minneapolis and not Ann Arbor.