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February 21, 2010 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Marvin's Hit on Geoffrion Causes Stir

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

A mid-ice hit by St. Cloud State's Aaron Marvin on Wisconsin's Blake Geoffrion during Saturday night's game, is causing quite a stir.

The hit by Marvin (which can be seen in the video on the right), was shoulder to the head, and knocked Geoffrion from the game.

Wisconsin went on to win the game, 7-4, avenging a 5-1 loss to the Huskies on Friday. Geoffrion, who scored his 100th career point before leaving, later said on his Twitter feed that he was OK.

That's more than can be said for North Dakota's Chay Genoway, another Hobey Baker Award candidate who was knocked out of a game by a hit from Marvin. Genoway has been out of action since November because of post-concussion issues, and may not return this season.

Whether Marvin is a dirty player or not, I can't say. I can't get inside his head, and I am not here right now to trash on Marvin, as is going on in North Dakota and Wisconsin message boards today.

What I can say is that this latest infraction was not penalized, and clearly should have been (Marvin was ejected from the November game).

We have been pretty critical of the WCHA officiating over the years, and rightly so. Actually, in general, offciating at the college level isn't the best, but that's to be expected, actually, and there's not much you can do about it. On that score, we rarely harp on officiating. But the WCHA seems to have this "let them play" atmosphere that, on the one hand, fans have loved vis-a-vis the other conferences, then deplored because it escalates into things like this.

Of course, it's not just this. The WCHA has bungled so many video review calls in recent years, I've lost count.

The issues stem from the top, and the leadership in the conference does not seem very interesting in cracking down on anything. When the other leagues all announced a crackdown on obstruction a number of years ago, for example, the WCHA remained very Laissez-faire about it. Well, that's one thing, but when the league keeps a hands off approach to any discipline of any kind, things start to snowball into instances like this.

Again, forget whether we should indict Aaron Marvin in particular. I just want to know how in the world that play is not a "contact to the head" penalty, a rule that was put in specifically to take the guesswork out of things by ruling any hit to the head, intentional or not, an infraction.

As players have become bigger, faster and stronger over the years, the potential for head injuries has exponentially increased. That is why more and more protective measures have been put in place. But that only works if these things are enforced. Bungling a video review call is one thing — being non-chalent about enforcing hits to the head calls is something that can put players' careers, or lives, in jeopardy.

It's not enough for the league to have toothless reactions to these kinds of things. It must come down forcefully, with the players, and with its own officials.

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves will ask the league to review the play. If history tells us anything, that won't get him very far. But it should.

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