The NCAA has made some rule changes for hockey in this upcoming season among them are that all face offs are going to be on a dot, and more importantly four officials on the ice and OPTIONAL SHOOTOUTS!!!!!
To the former point, from the perspective of a TV man i don't agree with this, it's bad enough having three officials especially if one is standing in the corner where you happen to have a camera hooked up. One time i was performing my duties as a cameraman at Yost for WOLV TV in a game against Alaska, my camera was in the right corner in front of the main entrance at Yost facing the goal where Michigan defends in the first and third periods (i.e. to the left of section 109) During this power play one of the officials skated over to the corner to get a better view and stood right in front of my tripod held camera.
I yelled at him to get out of the way, but to no avail. Fortunately for me, nobody scored during that power play and he eventually moved. Now i know darn well that there are ways of getting around such a situation without the refs getting in the way, as a matter of fact, we've prevented anything from happening like that again. However in my opinion four refs mean they can be more in the way. Not just for the cameras either as Mark Mitera recalls from the Miami game in which he tripped over an official's leg as a Redhawk player went for a breakaway.
I do, however, see a benefit for this from a fan's perspective. There will be less of an opportunity for players to get away with blatant penalties. Under normal circumstances i'm a fan of letting the players play on, but in cases like the series against Northern Michigan at Yost, there have to be exceptions. Sometimes the players can get too physical to the point that it seems like they're trying to hurt the other team's players and hopefully with four officials this will not happen.
Now to the part that's on everybody's minds. SHOOTOUTS!!!!!!!
I'm not going to pretend to know what Red Berenson thinks about having shootouts in college hockey, i know that several coaches in Hockey East and the ECAC, namely Jerry York, have been lobbying for this change. However i don't know whether it would really benefit Berenson to allow a shootout to end a game and risk a loss.
From a television perspective, i love it. If i am the announcer to any game that ends up in a shootout i will start throwing out all the spaghetti-western references that the Michigan Wolverine fans can handle, including:
CUE THE MORRICONE
If i could actually cue the intro to The Good The Bad and The Ugly at WOLV that would be awesome too, but i'm not getting my hopes up.
As a fan of Michigan i'm not a hundred percent certain in Billy Sauer's ability to stand tall in a shootout, it will all depend on the opposing team and the opposing goalie's abilities as well. I know personally, if i were Red Berenson and i were faced with a tie game against Northern Michigan i would not want to go into a shootout with Bryan Stewart. He's like the man with no name.
Hopefully, there won't be too many situations where there needs to be a shootout, personally i didn't think there were nearly as many tie games in college hockey as there were in the NHL when they adopted the rule, but whatever.