Column: Glen Needs to Learn From Rough Weekend

Story posted October 30, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Ross Insana

‘Change’ has been a key word the past few days for men’s hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky, after weekend games against RIT and Vermont in which his Nittany Lions took 27 and 32 penalty minutes, respectively.

Assistant captain David Glen is one of those in need of change, after what he admitted was a frustrating two games for him.

“As frustrated as we are, it’s not half as frustrated as he is,” said Gadowsky about Glen.

With 31 seconds left in the first period of Friday night’s 3-3 tie against RIT, Glen took a five minute major, for kneeing, and slapped on, was a game misconduct.

Turn the page to the following day at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, against Vermont, and not even two minutes into the second period, Glen got pegged for a hit to the head. Once again, he received a game misconduct.

30 total penalty minutes in two games for last season’s leading scorer and kicked out of back-to-back games. That’s how David Glen’s weekend went.

“It’s something I have to work on and it is a change in hockey,” said Glen. “We’re just trying to learn from those experiences and move on.”

Would Gadowsky have the gumption to sit him out for one game to show him that these colors do not run and to stay more disciplined with his play?

Glen is one of the most important pieces to the Nittany Lions offensively and having him out of the game twice this weekend crippled the team. But a benching would wake Glen up, and put an emphasis on what needs and has to be done, if Penn State wishes to be where they want as a team.

Coaches bench or sit out players all the time for lack of hustle or doing something out of character that they do not like. Now I’m not condoning a full game benching of Glen by any means, but then again this is not a good thing to have going on early in the season by a guy in a leadership position.

Assistant captains do not do this at any level. Whether it’s high school, college, minor leagues or in the NHL, you just do not see play like this out of guy in a leadership position. That is why they got the leadership position in the first place.

I completely understand Glen can play with a fire in his step and with a physical style. In this day and age where hockey is getting even faster and players are getting bigger than ever, the ice tends to metaphorically get, “smaller”. So as a player, you need to have your head on a swivel and be able to hold your ground physically. Glen is not a big guy like Gadowsky has said, but he plays huge and is tough to play against.

 “I’m not going out there to look to head hunt or take penalties or anything,” said Glen. “Physicality is a part of my game and I think my teammates respect me for that.”

I also know that when players are on the ice, everything is happening at such a rapid pace. There’s enough going on out on the ice that the last thing that is going through players’ minds is whether they are hitting correctly or not. I get that.

But Glen represents a microcosm of the bigger picture of the Nittany Lions five games into the season. When you are sitting as the sixth most penalized team in the country with 37 penalties and 110 total penalty minutes in FIVE GAMES, learning from mistakes should be abuzz. There is playing with a physical style and jockeying for positioning and then there’s being undisciplined, being on the cusp of borderline stupidity and constantly putting your team down a man. The latter is where they stand as of right now.

“Playing from behind is losing hockey,” said Gadowsky. “You start to do things that are out of character.”

Glen, along with the rest of the Nittany Lions, are in fact out of character, and have to find a way to meet ends meet with their physical style of play.

“He has to find that real spot between being David Glen and being so tough to play against and staying out of the box and it is not easy,” said Gadowsky

Gadowsky said they contacted the Big Ten Director of Officiating to look over every one of their penalties this season, because he and his coaching staff, plus the players, need direction as to what is legal or not.

Now that they have hopefully been given some clarity behind what is right and wrong, they need to adapt to the officiating and Gadowsky said they are practicing situations now. The NCAA officiating seems to be calling games how they really want to so they can be in control of the play early on in the season. In addition, anything that is borderline is going against the player that is being aggressive.

“For me it’s just about not just targeting for hits,” said Glen. “We have to be looking for the puck at all times, which is definitely a change in mentality from where hockey has been and where it’s going.”

Listen, if Glen and the rest of team continue to take penalties around this pace and lack discipline, they will be in for a long season. Top-ranked teams on their schedule like Boston College, UMass-Lowell, Minnesota and Michigan will thrive off the opportunities on the power play and make the Nittany Lions pay. For Glen himself, his role on the team is to be one of the voices of reason, learn from mistakes and move on.

Just like Gadowsky said postgame after their loss to Vermont on Saturday night, it doesn’t take Scotty Bowman to figure out that they need to change.

Ross Insana is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email rxi5007@psu.edu.