Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 43, Rule 43

The game: Tampa Bay vs. Montreal (broadcast in French).

Why I chose it: Parce que le match est emission en Francais, mais oui. Which means they pronounced the honkin' tall French captain's name properly.

My new French vocabulary: Tirs a but: shots on goal. Match joues: games played. Accroche: hooking.

The rule: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 43, Charging.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: 43.1, Charging. A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner. Charging shall mean the actions of a player who as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A "charge" may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice. This also outlines the differences between when to impose a minor (based on degree of violence of the check), major (based on degree of violence of the check), match (attempted to or deliberately injured opponent) or game misconduct (injury to face or head).

My favorite highlight: I have special affection for netminders, so this one should come as no suprise: A minor, major or a major and a game misconduct shall be imposed on a player who charges a goalkeeper while the goalkeeper is within his goal crease. A goalkeeper is not "fair game" just because he is outside the goal crease area. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an opposing player makes unnecessary contact with a goalkeeper. However, incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

The final score: Montreal 2, Tampa Bay 1.

The morals of the story:

The game: This is hockey, so this rule will be violated, repeatedly. The only real question here is how far did the player travel and what constitutes "violent?" Most truly loyal hockey fans will tell you that unless the player is unconscious, bleeding or unable to move, it's not violent, carry on. Most refs appear to agree. On the other hand, you can see from this rule how important netminders are to a team. Charging the goaltender is no more excusable than it is for a player, even if he's "out out of the zone." Think it's too easy on them? Think again. Most teams have two goaltenders. If they got charged with the same frequency and aggression as players, even the backup would be down. Like a rock.

Life: Maybe we don't get physically charged in life, but long before it's done we've all been charged in other ways: divorce, bankruptcy, illness, betrayal, cheating by others in work or life. What if we had referees who put the offenders in a box for two minutes? If your coworker cheats or lies to get ahead, they get to sit in a windowless cube with no decorations or personal items, a Radio Shack computer from 1980 that takes up all of the free desk space and a co-worker in the immediate next door cube who spends all day on her cell phone gossiping about her boyfriend who's just not that into her. If your bank told you a balloon mortagage would be a good idea and you default on the loan, they should be forced to live in your house while it slowly falls apart during foreclosure, sans heat, electricity or running water. Penalty boxes don't exactly stop others from charging, but they do slow down the frequency and there is justice with a small j.

Next up: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 44, Checking from Behind.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 42, Rule 42

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Boston.

Why I chose it: Tampa Bay's on the comeback trail, and the Z-man and French captain are looking sharp.

My peeve: I was going to switch now and again to the Montreal vs. Ottawa game, but alas there was no all-French broadcast so I couldn't listen and learn.

The rule: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 42, Boarding.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: This one is clearly defined on paper, but it's greatly dependent on the referee's judgment. Here it is:

42.1, Boarding. A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be thrown violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee. The Ref can impose a minor or major penalty (based on the degree of violence of the impact), match penalty (if the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by boarding), or game misconduct penalty (foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent).

My favorite highlight: Second half of 42.1, Boarding. There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact. However, there is also a responsibility on the player with the puck to avoid placing himself in a dangerous and vulnerable position. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule. Any unnecessary contact with a player playing the puck on an obvious "icing" or "off-side" play which results in that player being knocked into the boards is "boarding"...and in other instances where there is no contact with the boards, it should be treated as "charging."

The final score: Tampa Bay 2, Boston 1. And note to you critics of Honkin' Tall French Captain's slump who didn't watch this one because you didn't see the point...he was the first star of the night and set up the game opening goal. One word: comeback. With a Capital C.

The morals of the story:

The game: It's easy for fans to pass judgment on players, officials and goal judges, because of course we know and see all from our vantage point above the glass or on the close up replay on Versus. This rule is proof that it's never as easy as it looks. What if the player who got checked put himself in a vulnerable and dangerous position? There's no rule in this book for players who put themselves in harm's way knowing they could get hurt. Maybe there should be: Rule 89, Blame. If a player playing the puck puts himself in a dangerous and vulnerable position (near the boards, in the middle of a fight between other players, into the path of an oncoming defenseman on open ice, etc.), there shall be no penalty and play shall continue while the player retires to the bench to rethink a few things.

Life: This rule reminds me of when I got mugged in New York City and the cops bascially did nothing to help me except file a report because in their book, it was my fault: I was walking home alone without watching my ass. It was just like this rule: only the mugger didn't do his part and avoid the check. I agree we should take steps to protect ourselves, but let's face it. If someone wants to hurt you, they will find a way to do it. To this day, I don't carry valuables in my bag, I don't spend more than $3o on a handbag, I watch the sidewalk ahead and move to the side with less riff raff loitering around doorways, I don't answer people who talk to me on the bus and I look in the window reflections in stores so I can check who's behind me. Is it silly? Yes. But I've never been mugged since.

P.S. I did get some justice. There was no American money in that purse he stole. I'd been in Spain and all he got away with was a few hundred Pesetas and a credit card I cancelled before I called the cops.

Next up on 12/30: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 43, Charging.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 41, Rule 41

The game: IIHF World Junior Championship, USA vs. Switzerland.

Why I chose it: Two Winterhawks are facing off against each other in this one. Luke Walker is on Team USA and Nino Niederreiter is in the lineup for Switzerland.

Cool moment if you live in Portland: The announcer just mentioned that Nino plays for us. He's also in the starting lineup. On the other hand, Luke's in the box.

My peeve: The NHL is STILL debating hits to the head, late hits, whatever you call it. I'm writing in with my own suggestion for a new rule: Rule 88, Unnecessary Hits: any player who delivers a deliberate hit to the head with the intent to harm another player and remove them from the game will be automatically and permanently removed from active play, since they couldn't come up with a smarter, better way to win, like say, being a stronger, smarter, better conditioned player. Period. End of rule. No substitutions, no exceptions.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 41, Physical Abuse of Officials.

Number of sections in the rule: 8.

Definition: This rule defines game misconduct, the categories for automatic suspension (there are 3), the automatic suspension process and supplementary discipline. It includes offenses by coaches, managers and non-playing Club personnel and, not surprisingly, it requires that all Clubs provide adequate police or other security for the safety of players goalkeepers and officials. Category I carries the highest penalty (suspension for not less than 20 games) and must involve deliberate force with intent to injure. Category II is force without intent or spitting on an official and imposes a suspension of not less than 10 games. Category III is for threatening behavior like tossing equipment or spitting at officials and carries a suspension of not less than 3 games.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the same thing, as defined by 41.1, Game Misconduct: Any Player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official, physically demeans, or deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty. In addition, the following (41.2, 41.3, 41.4) disciplinary penalties shall apply.

My favorite highlight: 41.5 Automatic Suspension - Process: Immediately after the game in which such game misconduct penalty is imposed, the Referees shall, in consultation with the Linesmen, decide the category of the offense. To summarize: they must provide a verbal report to the NHL Director of Hockey Operations and they may file a written report with the Director to request a review as to the adequacy of the suspension. The NHLPA, the player and the club shall be notified of the Referees decision on the morning following the game. The League then holds a conference call with the NHLPA to review the Referees decision and will refrain from public comment affirming the Referees application of the rule until that call is complete. A hearing can be requested by the player or the officials. For Category I and II offenses, the NHL must conduct the hearing in person. For Category III offenses only, the NHL may conduct the hearing by phone.

The final score: TBD. It's tied at 0 at the first intermission. Will update later.

The morals of the story:

The game: It's one thing if players get into it with each other - that's a given. But how stupid do you have to be to get into it with an official? It's not like player fights, where it's like who started what? Dude, if you hit, spit or throw something at the guys wearing stripes, even without intent, you're gonna go down. And if you're a marquee player, the team's going down with you. Wanna get mad? Take the Keith Ballard route and hit your own teammate, because apparently the NHL doesn't penalize for that.

Life: This is the hockey equivalent of a trial by jury for criminals, complete with an appeals (review) process. Except in the NHL, punishment is swift, unrefuted and when the League makes a final decision, that's it. You do the crime, it gets reviewed, you do the time. It should stop you, but just like life, it rarely does. Our justice system needs this rule. Here's how my system would work:

Category I - Automatic suspension from leisure-based activities in which you might have any fun, relegating you to nothing more than commuting to work, eating food that you don't like and watching news (no cable, no internet free movies, nothing) for no less than 20 days for any individual who does the following: texting or talking on the cell phone or being drunk while driving, letting your dog pee on the neighbor's newly planted pansies and telling the clerk who can't find the price tag that an item was $1.99 when it was really $4.99 and you know it.

Category II - Automatic suspension from leisure-based activities, with occasional snacks on food you like and one hour of TV other than news for no less than 10 days for individuals who do the following: cuts in front of me in line because I'm alone and they figure they can just slip in and I won't say anything because nobody's got my back, speeding in school zones, residential areas or two lane roads because you're busy committing the first offense above, and complaining to the clerk at Starbucks because they put full fat in your latte instead of fat-free. On the last offense, get over it and live life.

Category III - Automatic suspension from leisure-based activities, with one meal of food you like and two hours of TV other than news for no less than 3 days for individuals who do the following: interrupt a live conversation to check their PDA or take a cell phone call, complain about how your favorite athletic team isn't scoring or is generally sucking when you yourself haven't seen the inside of a gym since Wayne Gretzky's rookie season, try to drift past a stop sign or slip out of a parking lot into oncoming traffic in order to cut in front of drivers who clearly have the right of way by forcing them to stop or let you in because otherwise they'd hit you. Special note to drivers who do this to me: I will honk, stop only for the purpose of flipping you off vociferously and to photograph your license plate with my cell phone camera so I can send it to the DMV, and then drive around you.

Next up on 12/28: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 42, Boarding.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 40, Rule 40

The game: IIHF World Junior Championships, USA vs. Slovakia.

Why I chose it: Portland Winterhawk Luke Walker, gruesome face injury and all, is on Team USA's roster.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 40, Abuse of Officials.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: This provides a general description of abuse, and offers a more detailed description of the types of infractions for which minor, benech minor, misconduct and game misconducts may be imposed. This rule applies to verbal abuse of officials. For the same abuse of anyone other than the officials (players, coaches, managers, etc.), Rule 75, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, is applied.

The general description of this rule states that "a player, goalkeeper, Coach or non-playing person shall not challenge or dispute the rulings of an on-ice official before, during or after a game. A player, goalkeeper, Coach or non-playing person shall not display unsportsmanlike coonduct, including, but not limited to, obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures, comments of a personal nature intended to degrade an official, or persist in disputing a ruling after being told to stop or after being penalized for such behavior."

My favorite highlights (i.e. things even the most loyal of fans like myself may not have known):

40.2 Minor Penalty, subsection iii: Forbids banging on the boards in protest of an official's decision. No, it doesn't include hitting your own teammates in the head, a la the Keith Ballard whack to Thomas Vokoun's noggin. But, it does state that "if this is done in order to get the attention of the on-ice officials for a legitimate reason (e.g. serious injury, illness, etc.) then discretion must be exercised by the Referee. So, if Ballard had banged the boards AFTER he hit Vokoun to signal for help, that would have been ok.

40.3 Bench Minor Penalty, subsection ii: Any unidentifiable player or any Coach or non-playing person who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gesture directed at an on-ice official or uses the name of any official coupled with any vociferous remarks. This I knew, but I just love that the NHL uses a word like "vociferous" in their rule book. Vociferous means loud, bellowing or blatant. So basically, if you make your comments quietly and/or to yourself, you don't get dinged.

40.4, Misconduct Penalty, subsection ii: Any player who intentionally knocks or shoots the puck out of the reach of an official who is retrieving it. This rule also applies to players who have already been assessed a minor or bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, and persist in doing so.

405. Game Misconduct Penalty, subsection vi: Any Player, Coach or non-playing person who throws or shoots any equipment or other object in the general direction of an official but does not come close to making any contact. This action may occur on or off the ice.

The final score: USA 7, Slovakia 3.

Morals of the story:

The game: Sportsmanlike conduct isn't exactly what hockey is known for, and let's face it, most fans wouldn't watch it if it was. But what if players and their managers and coaches were allowed to get away with anything? Fighting, yelling, swearing, banging the boards, holding, hooking, the whole nine yards. The only people doing their job on a given night would be the emergency personnel who hauled them out to the emergency room or the police station. We'd never get to see an Evgeni Malkin backhanded hat trick into the Carolina net. We'd never see Max Talbot score the Game 7 winner. We'd never watch Martin Brodeur set another record. It would be full scale, unmitigated carnage. Thanks to rules like this, there is beauty in hockey and yes, Virginia, there is sportsmanship.

Life: One of my friends' children asked me once what the penalty box was for. I told him it was a time-out for grownups. That's exactly what this is. It's the hockey equivalent of a time-out, or if you're like me and grew up in the 70s when there was no stigma attached to it, it's like a spanking. Parents need this rule. If children persist in talking back or disputing a command to do or not do something after being told to stop or after being penalized for such behavior, they can be sent to a backyard penalty bench for a 10-minute misconduct. Officials, in this case parents, shall keep official reports of such behavior, so that when the little whippersnappers grow up and want their own iPhone, it will be dependent upon their previous record of sportsmanlike or unsportsmanlike behavior.

Next up on 12/27: Section 5, Officials. Rule 41, Physical Abuse of Officials.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 39, Rule 39

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa.

Why I chose it: To prove my theory that whenever the Pens lose in a spectacular way, like the Brodeur shutout, they roar back with a better-than-ever game. That includes singular players like Evgeni Malkin, who was the subject of a less than flattering headline in the Post-Gazette, "Malkin mired in a slump." He was smart, though, he just owned up. I love what he said about it. "I know my play is not good. I'm going to try the next game. I'm working hard today, tomorrow. It's a tough situation, but it will be alright." It's honest, it's sincere and he did exactly what he said he would.

The final score: Pittsburgh 8, Ottawa 2. Hat trick for Malkin. Theory proven. Slump officially over and done with.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 39, Video Goal Judge.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: As the title implies, this individual is the one who conducts the video review of goals. I always thought it was just the questionable ones, but the general duties section states that that "every goal is to be reviewed by the video goal judge." This rule also outlines reports, situations subject to review (8 - including pucks batted in with the hand or foot, those that are high sticked in and puck in net prior to the net being dislodged), logistics and equipment, and verification of time.

My favorite highlight: 39.2, Goals: Upon making contact with the off-ice official at ice level, the Video Goal Judge should say initially that he is "looking at the play." Once the Video Goal Judge has reviewed the video and confirmed that the goal is valid, he should say that "it is a good goal." If there is a need to expand the review, the Video Goal Judge will advise the off-ice official at ice level and the Public Address Announcer that "the play is under review." The Announcer then announces that "play is under review." When the referee indicates there is to be a video review, all players (with the exception of the goalkeepers, who pretty much have to stay in the crease until pulled for empty net or letting in too many goals) will go to their respective players' bench immediately and failure to do so would result in a game misconduct penalty with a fine to the Coach. Love it - if the player's don't do as instructed, the Coach pays the price for not coralling them. And then they get ripped a new one the next day at practice. Perfect. More rules should be like this one.

Morals of the story:

The game: Fans who get in a bunch about missed scoring chances, penalties not called by the ref, imposing the wrong penalty on a player, disallowed goals and other various unfair infractions can take heart in the following: after almost being halfway through the rulebook, I can tell you that every inch of every game is watched, timed, reviewed and judged. We may not always like a call, but we can take heart in knowing that the officials didn't "phone it in" when making a call.

Life: This is totally like work, when your boss asks "where's that report I asked for yesterday" or "how's that spreadsheet coming?" and you say "I'm on it" to stall for time while you scramble to finish it. Also, I would not want to have a video goal judge in life. It may be a good thing in hockey, but I wouldn't want somebody watching, taping, reviewiewing and making judgments on my every move. On the other hand, perhaps it would have pre-empted a lot of errors in judgment, missed opportunities and poor life choices. It wouldn't be fun or fair, but it would prevent a lot of wasted time and opportunities.

Next up on 12/26: Section 5, Officials. Rule 40, Abuse of Officials.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 38, Rule 38

The game: Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey.

Why I chose it: This game was going to go one of two ways. Pittsburgh wins and deprives Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur of another record and possibly takes back their first place position in the Atlantic division from the Devils. OR Marty Brodeur sets yet another record and the Penguins hold tight in 2nd.

The outcome: If you don't know by now, the good news is that Martin Brodeur passed Terry Sawchuk for the all time shut out record. The bad news is he did it against my favorite team. Look at this way: 1) It was a noble sacrifice by the defending champions. 2) But not really, 'cause that last minute or so was a furious battle that proves even when a game is lost, it's not over until the buzzer sounds. Kudos to both sides for a demonstrating why we watch hockey in the first place.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 38, Real Time Scorers.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: The duty of the Real Time Scorers is to electronically record all official statistics for the game played. This data shall be compiled and recorded in strict conformity with the instructions provided by the League. This rule also states that the Scoring System Manager shall provide reports to the home Club's pulic relations representative, who shall then distribute reports to the media and to each Club's coaches. I always think a life in the NHL must be so glamorous and exciting. But I'm coming to realize that really, most of the jobs are really not that different or more glamorous than corporate America. In between making sure exhausted, frustrated players don't say something stupid in the post-game interviews and being on-call 24/7, the PR person gets to round out the evening by distributing stat reports every night. It's glamorous with a small g.

My favorite highlight: 38.2, Real Time Scorers: There shall be appointed for duty at every game played in the League the following Real Time Scorers:
(i) Stats entry scorer
(ii) Stats entry scorer - not sure why this is listed twice. Maybe they forgot to distinguish home from visitor?
(iii) Time on ice scorer - Home
(iv) Time on ice scorer - Visitor
(v) Spotter - I want to know what this person does. Is it like the lookout in a bank robbery...if you see anything supicious, you notify the other scorers?

Assigned by the League to oversee the Real Time Scorers and the data collected is a Scoring System Manager (SSM), an off-ice official who is required to work one of the five (5) positions noted above in each game played. So, really there's only four Real Time Scorers, plus this dude, and his reponsibility changes with the game? My head hurts.

The final score: New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: What if this position didn't exist? There would be no way of knowing that Martin Brodeur just set a new record. You couldn't tally up the Art Ross Trophy winner or prove that a team earned enough points to make the playoffs. Critics wouldn't have fodder to rip my favorite honkin' tall French captain. For those of us who prefer the written word over the language of numbers, anything that involves statistics is not even worth explaining to most of us. We'll never get it. But somebody gets it. Because somebody has to. Boring though this job may sound, it is everything to the players, who can get traded because they have too many penalty minutes or not enough goals. Without the people who do the math each night, the NHL would be nothing more than a very expensive game of pond hockey.

Life: Oh, this is just too easy to equate with life. In life, there shall be appointed for duty in every life lived the following Real Time Scorers:

(i) Childhood scorer: records all statistics from infant to 12, including height, weight, age, number of friends, grades in school, and so forth, along with the following: number of cookies stolen from the jar, total punishments served for breaking fragile household items you were told not to touch, and number of times you went to the principal's office for pouring glue in that boy's hair because he didn't like you, pushing someone off the swing because you didn't want to wait and other assorted infractions.

(ii) Puberty scorer: records all statistics from 12 to 18, including but not limited to the following: bad haircuts (i.e. pink dye, mohawks, etc.); number of your texts that your boyfriend proceeds to send to all his friends even though it was private; total homework assignments that were never done because your computer crashed, your email didn't send to the right address, etc. (in the stone age that was the 70s we used to just blame the dog, AND we wrote our homework assignments by hand, sometimes in pen if we were really brave, all before they made liquid paper and erasable pens); total emails/texts sent to the wrong boy during study hall who then proceeds to ask you out because silly him, he thought you actually liked him, and; all fashion choices, regardless of how stylish they seemed, and which you will regret by the time you turn 30.

(iii) Adulthood scorer (ages 18 - 40 and beyond): records all statistics for the following life choices, judgments and errors: number of times you skipped class in college or showed up late in favor of partying, hangovers, and general disillusionment with what you thought school and life was going to teach you; bad dates and poor boyfriend choices made because you thought "this time was going to be different, I can feel it"; jobs you took in pursuit of a career that really, around 35, started to look pretty pointless; mortgages defaulted on, rent paid for third-floor walk-up apartments that didn't have heat until early January and cold water three out of four mornings; number of times you asked yourself "is this it?" and wondered where you went wrong and thought about what life might have been: number of friends who turned out to be anything but; all those times you spent money on $3 lattes, expensive vacations or $700 shoes so that later you can officially regret it because you could have saved for a high-tech espresso machine, a house of your own and a second home in Italy.

Next up on 12/24: Section 5, Officials. Rule 39, Video Goal Judge.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 37, Rule 37

The games: Anaheim vs. Phoenix and Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo.

Why I chose them: My favorite Swiss goalie is in net against my pick for the NHL's "is this the year?" campaign. I was all psyched to see Ryan Miller in action for Buffalo, but alas his backup was on the job. Although his backup isn't too shabby, either.

My peeve: Our hometown heroes the Portland Winterhawks fell to third in our division after two straight losses. We as fans probably didn't help anything - the audience was in "oh crap I'm not ready for the holidays and I'm stuck working next week while my higher ups go on a ski vacation" mode. Totally asleep at the wheel, on our part. Although I must say, that fight Brett Ponich got into in the second period was 90 seconds (give or take) of unmitigated beauty. Saluting the audience afterwards put the cherry on top.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 37, Goal Judge.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: This is a no - bullshit rule for one of the most important people in the rink. Per this rule, this individual shall "signal, normally by means of a red light, his decision as to whether the puck passed between the goal posts and entirely over the goal line. His only decision is whether the puck actually entered the net, not how or when it went in." Hello! I thought the red light went off automatically by some motion sensor.

My favorite highlights: 37.3, Location. There shall be one Goal Judge situated behind each goal (or in an area designated and approved by NHL Hockey Operations) in properly protected areas, if possible, so that there can be no interference with their activities. They shall not change goals during the game. In other words, they must be sectioned off in a protected area for their own safety, in case fans or players want to disupte his decision with verbal and physical force.

The final scores: Anaheim 4, Phoenix 2. Pittsburgh 2, Buffalo 1 (SO).

The morals of the story:

The game: Like life, sometimes the simplest thing is the most important thing. I want to know what the job description for this one looks like. Here's my take: Wanted: large, physically and mentally sturdy individual to declare goals scored in major NHL match-ups, including playoffs. Individual must be willing to tolerate verbal and possibly physical abuse and have absolutely no hobbies, personal conflicts, substance abuse issues or anything else that would lead to distraction during games and therefore interfere in their ability to keep their eye on the puck and declare a puck has gone into the net. Individual must have previous experience in jobs that require sitting still, watching a small piece of rubber and pushing large buttons. Individual must not show favoritism to their favorite team in making their decisions.

Life: If life had a goal judge, it would be good and bad. On the one hand, there would be no BS when you score a life goal (marriage, promotion, graduation,etc.) and you'd get the point, plain and simple. Goal in. Red light. Done. But it's never that easy. For example, what if the goal was making money and the winner cheated their way to it, like Wall Street bankers did for decades? What if it's scored by one of those people who think they're entitled to the world because life has never taught them any different? The goal judge only decides whether the puck went in, not how or why. For that, I'm afraid we'd need another job: circumstance judge. This individual would decide whether a goal was scored fairly by a morally upstanding person and if not, the goal would be disallowed. Their decision would be final and subject to dispute only if the individual can provide character references and clear a background check.

Next up: Section 5, Officials. Rule 38, Real Time Scorers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 36, Rule 36

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, LA vs. Calgary and Anaheim vs. Sharks.

Why I chose them: 1) Duh. 2) Anze Kopitar viewing opportunity and therefore...Duh. 3) Anaheim's back on track and my fave goalie was quite stellar the other night.

My peeve: Duh doesn't translate into French. And...New Jersey just shut out Tampa Bay.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 36, Penalty Timekeeper.

Number of sections in rule: 8 (General Duties, Equipment, Goalkeeper's Penalties, Penalty Shot, Penalty Time Clock, Reports, Stick Measurements and Verification of Time).

Definition: This covers all the bases on penalty recording, timing, reporting and verification of time. Among the timekeeper's general duties are: keeping a correct record of all penalties assessed by the referees (including player names, penalties assessed, duration of penalty and the time at which penalty occurred); number of times a penalty must be announced over the loudspeaker system (twice); correct posting of penalties on the scoreboard at all times; and having a measuring gauge and tape measure available for Refs to measure sticks (Refs are on their own for the imaginary line - see Day 10, Rule 10).

One of the more interesting examples of reading the penalties twice happens here in Portland, where you will find the announcers at Winterhawks games restating a given penalty by shortening it to state that's Walker "with the trip" or Schneider "with the hook."

My favorite highlights:

Tidbits from 36.1, General Duties: In the event of a dispute regarding the time a penalized player is permitted to return to the ice, the game clock is the determining time clock. In situations where multiple game misconducts have been assessed to any one player at the same stoppage of play, only one game misconduct should be announced. Misconduct penalties and coincident major penalties should not be recorded on the timing device (penalty time clock) but such penalized players should be alerted and released at the first stoppage of play following the expiration of their penalties.

36.5, Penalty Time Clock: In the event that two players from one team and one player from the opposing team are penalized at the same time, the Penalty Timekeeper shall request through the Referees or the offending team's Captain, which penalty they prefer to have on the time device. I love it. A shred of gentlemanly play in one of most ungentlemanly sports in the world. I have an image of a former British butler in a top hat and bow tie asking "which penalty would you prefer, sir, the boarding or the fighting?"

The final scores: Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO). Calgary 1, LA 0 at the end of the second period. Anaheim vs. Sharks -- scoreless at the end of the first period.

The game: My head hurts. I had to start reading this at lunch to ensure I'd finish this entry before midnight. A math teacher must have invented this rule. It's like the hockey equivalent of those equations where "if two trains leave the station at the same time and one makes three stops for 10 minutes each before proceeding on and one goes two minutes faster than expected, which train will arrive first?" Who gives a crap? They'll both get there one way or another. I'm writing to the NHL to recommend my own addition to this rule: the penalty timekeeper shall be permitted to keep one pharmaceutical drug (prescription or over the counter) and one bottle of scotch under his table for use in those situations where keeping track of penalties damn near makes his head explode.

Life: It's a good thing we don't have penalty timekeepers following us around in life, keeping track of every stupid, shameful, impulsive thing we do, or I'd be on permanent suspension. Here is just a sampling of two things for which I would no doubt be on the penalty clock:

-- Getting slightly drunk in a champagne bar at lunch on my 30th birthday, and after finding that the movie I wanted to see was sold out (at 1 on a Monday!), wandering into the Disney Store on 5th Avenue and complaining to a salesperson because they didn't have adult size Winnie the Pooh slippers with the little built-in night light, which were a key selling point for me, because I might need to get up in the middle of the night and down more alcohol to kill the reality that I was living alone in Manhattan with two quasi-friends and making less than $100,000.

-- Growing out my hair in junior year of high school, so I would have long, thick wavy hair for my senior portrait, and then getting a perm and a layered haircut right before picture day, thinking it would make my hair more wavy and Rapunzel-like. The actual result looked like a poodle after they've been blow-dried at the dog groomers, only without the ribbon. If I stood outside on a windy day, the top part would form little hair-poof horns on either side of my head. Someday when my mother's out of town, I'm sneaking over to her house, raiding the photo albums and the framed picture that she loves and shows off to friends, and burning all the evidence.

Next up on 12/19: Section 5, Officials. Rule 37, Goal Judge.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 35, Rule 35

The games: LA Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks.

Why I chose them: I just woke up and discovered Anze Kopitar. I don't know what they put in the water or food supply in Slovenia, but may I suggest they keep doing it. His brother plays for the Portland Winterhawks, so I'm now on the local lookout at the Rose Garden for large NHL players with very cool foreign accents.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 35, Game Timekeeper.

Number of sections in the rule: 7.

Definition: This outlines the timekeeper's general duties, the regulation length of intermissions (17 minutes), the length of overtime (5 minutes) and the required one minute rest before OT, This also defines the game timekeeper's responsibility to blow a whistle to end signal the end of a period if the electronic clock breaks, to signal the start of periods, and verification of time (to resolve disputes over when a goal was scored, replacement of time due to false face-off, and re-set of clock to accurate time if the clock fails to work when play resumes). It's the hockey version of a hall monitor. Only they clock the start of periods and overtimes instead of the start and stop of recess and how long it took you to "go to the bathroom" to avoid math class.

My favorite highlights:
35.5, Start of Periods. To assist in ensuring the prompt return to the ice of the teams and the officials, the Game Timekeeper shall give preliminary warnings of five (5) minutes and two (2) minutes prior to the resumption of play in each period.

35.6, Television. The Game Timekeeper is required to synchronize his timing device with the television producer of the originating broadcast.

The score at the time of this posting: Vancouver just scored a goal at 1:04 in the first period. And another at 17:15.

The morals of the story:

Game: The Game Timekeeper is responsible for the one thing that can make or break a game. The clock is everyone's enemy in hockey and the timekeeper makes sure if minutes are lost they're put back and he ensures the game can continue even if technology breaks. These men have to account for every second of every game and they are the deciding factor when an NHL game needs to take a little trip in a time machine. So, fellow nerds, let's send our own little shout out to these boys the next time the game's tied with 2 minutes to go in the third and the home team's on the power play.

Think about it this way: we only watch the clock in a vain hope that somehow time will turn back and help our losing team pick it up and win. The Game Timekeeper watches the clock or he gets fired.

Life: Like hockey, in life the clock is our enemy and not one second do we get back. This is why I don't wear a watch, it just reminds me of time ticking away. I'm also not one of those people who talks to no one on a cell phone or pretends to send texts to imaginary friends just to look important and connected. Hence, I'm probably not as productive as some people. So, instead of buying a new watch this weekend, I'm looking into the possibility of hiring a personal game timekeeper. He or she will be responsible for ensuring that my day starts on time, with a five and two minute warning to ensure I get to my bus stop on time. They will blow a whistle when it's time for my work day to end and again when it's time to go to bed before midnight instead of watching NHL replays half-asleep until three in the morning and stumbling to bed to maybe get four hours of REM sleep. Most importantly, they will stop the clock when they see me doing something stupid that I will later regret, and replace any minutes lost to even so much as attempting useless endeavors like trying to rid my body of cellulite with expensive creams or procedures that will actually do nothing to advance this cause, cutting my hair super short or coloring it bright red on a whim the night before a big holiday party and dating any man who instead of having the balls to ask me out says we should "just hang out."

Next up on 12/16: Section 5, Officials. Rule 36, Penalty Timekeeper.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 34, Rule 34

The game: Anaheim vs. Columbus Blue Jackets.

Why I chose it: Ulterior motives, mais oui. My favorite Swiss goalie is back in the net against a team on the rise.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 34, Official Scorer.

Number of sections in the rule: 5.

Definition: This outlines the general duties of the Official Scorer, along with the awarding of goals and assists, listing of line ups, where the Scorer must sit and his role in helping the Penalty Timekeeper. The Scorer awards the points for goals and assists and his decision is final. A goal is awarded to the last player on the scoring team to touch the puck prior to the puck entering the net. An assist is awarded to the player or players (maximum two) who touches the puck prior to the goal scorer, provided no defender plays or possesses the puck in between. The Official Scorer also provides to the League the Official Report of Match form, the Score Sheet and the Penalty Record forms.

A simple thing I didn't know but should have because I have no other productive hobbies besides hockey: 34.3, Lineups: It is the policy of the National Hockey League that the Coach of the visitng club provide to the Official Scorer, a list of eligible players, his starting line-up and designated Captain and Alternates, within five (5) minutes of the completion of the warm-up (twenty (20) minutes prior to face-off). This twenty minutes gives the Official Scorer time to obtain the completed home team line-up, return it to the visiting Coach and provide a copy of both line-ups to the Referees. The Official Scorer shall have an off-ice crew member assist him in order to save time and complete these duties.

The final score: Anaheim 3, Columbus 1.

Morals of the story:

The game: On paper, the Official Scorer has one of the less eventful but more important jobs in the NHL. He fills out a lot of paperwork, but he is also the final word on points for goals and assists. It looks like the kind of job anyone could do, right? Not if that someone doesn't give a hoot about detail or know much about numbers. This job is a lot like that of an executive assistant in a major corporation. They have the job nobody would want, but it's the one that if it dried up tomorrow, most of the company wouldn't be able to function.

Life: How cool would it be to have your own Official Scorer to keep track of achievement of your goals, assists and the fact that you showed up every day at work and did your job? They could turn in all the official paperwork to your employer, friends and neighbors every day, so there would be a written record that you were in fact there and didn't squander your precious time, and most importantly, to award the achievement of your goals and assists. We spend our days doing seemingly ordinary things that don't often lead to milestones or significant progress, but we probably achieve more than we think. Next time you think a day is just something to survive and you didn't get all the things on your "to do" list done, try writing it down. You might accomplish more than you think.

Next up on 12/13: Section 5, Officials. Rule 35, Game Timekeeper.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 33, Rule 33

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (12/10) and Tampa Bay vs. Colorado (12/11).

Why I chose them: Stanley Cup champions vs. The Habs. How could you NOT want to watch that one? Tampa Bay vs. Colorado - Honkin' tall French captain AND two of the first round draft picks in one game. Pure bonheur. No, I don't care if the honkin' tall French captain hasn't scored a goal since cavemen discovered how to start a fire - game on and get over it.

My peeve: I love Pittsburgh and I hate to see them lose, but y'all, Montreal's game tying goal in the third period went in, fair and square. Oh right, this is hockey. O non! Ce n'est pas juste, indeed.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 33, Linesmen.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: This rule covers attire and equipment, general duties, face-offs, when to stop play and report and offense to the referee, and what to do when they are unable to continue. I don't see misadventure in here, so apparently the linesmen aren't able to do that.

My favorite highlights: 33.3 General Duties - The Linesmen are generally responsible for violations of off-side (Rule 83) and icing (Rule 81). They may stop play for a variety of other situations as noted in sections 33.4 and 33.5 below. 33.4, Reporting to Referee - among the reasons they may stop play is vii. Double-minor penalty when it is apparent that an injury has resulted from a high-stick that has gone undetected by the Referees. 33.5, Stopping Play. The Linesmen shall stop play for a variety of reasons, including: X. When a goal has been scored that has not been observed by the Referees.

The final scores: Pittsburgh 3, Montreal 2. Colorado 2, Tampa Bay 1 (SO) .

The morals of the story:

The game: So, in addition to wearing an ugly orange arm band that singles you out even more than the stripes, having to report your calls to the referee, taking crap from the players, coaches and managers and being booed by the fans... the linesmen have to get into it with their referees if they see something the other guy didn't? How much more crap can one man take in one game? If I ever do move back to a major NHL city like Vancouver or Montreal, the post-game beer's on me boys. Better yet, pre-game adult beverage is on me. Carry on and ignore the rest of us because we couldn't do your job without the help of self-medication.

Life: Linesmen are the equivalent of middle managers in corporate America. You get to have a certain amount of authority and make your own decisions, but ultimately you have to defer to someone higher on the corporate executive ladder. It sounds like a bummer, but really, how many of us really want to break the glass ceiling? It's lonely at the top and you don't get to be everybody's friend or gossip at the water cooler or call in sick because you just couldn't deal. You have to suck it up, you're nobody's friend and you don't have time to stop at the water cooler, let alone have a personal life. No thanks - the corner office isn't that important to me, I have no interest in being attached at the hip to my cell phone and I like leaving work before midnight.

Next up on 12/12: Section 5, Officials. Rule 34, Official Scorer.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 31, Rules 31 and 32

The games: Anaheim vs. Dallas (12/8) and New York Rangers vs. Chicago (12/9).

Why I chose them: I still believe in Anaheim, even if they don't believe in themselves. And the other - it's an original six matchup, it's below freezing outside, it's Wednesday. I have heat, Center Ice, large foofoo blanket and red wine. Enough said.

My favorite play: Dan Sexton -- playing in only his third NHL game -- getting the game tying goal in the third period, which propelled Anaheim to an overtime victory over Dallas.

The rules: Section 5, Officials. Rule 31, Appointment of Officials. Rule 32, Referees.

Number of sections in the rules: Rule 31: 2. Rule 32: 11.

Definition: Rule 31 is two sections long and just basically gives the Commissioner the right to appoint the refs, linesmen, on-ice officials, and video goal judge for each game. Rule 32 is more lengthy and provides a complete guide to the rights and duties of the referees, including: attire and equipment, disputes, face-offs, general duties, goals, off-ice officials, penalties, players' uniforms, reports, start and end of game periods and unable to continue. It also outlines how the goal/assist and penalties will be announced over the public address system.

Things I didn't know but should have because I sit around thinking about, watching or reading about hockey for at least 6 hours every day:

32.7, Penalties: Where players of both teams are penalized on the same play, the penalty to the visiting player shall be announced first. When a penalty is imposed by the Referee, which calls for a mandatory or automatic fine, only the time portion of the penalty will be reported by the Referee to the Official Scorer and announced over the public address system, and the fine will be collected through the League office.

32.10, Start and End of Game Periods: The Referees shall remain on the ice at the conclusion of each period until all players have proceeded to their dressing rooms.

But this is the best: 32.11, Unable to continue. If, through misadventure or sickness, the Referees and Linesman appointed are prevented from appearing, the League shall make every attempt to find suitable replacement officials, otherwise the Managers or Coaches of the two Clubs shall agree on Referees and Linesman. Misadventure? So, in case the refs and/or linesmen go on a weeklong extravaganza to South America and get lost or kidnapped while kayaking in the Amazon Rain forest (what's left of it), the League will sort it out in their absence? I love it. If it's NHL season, and you're a ref, forget that little weekend trip to Costa Rica to go scuba diving and get out of freezing rinks. You might have a misadventure and miss a game.

The final score: Anaheim 4, Dallas 3 in OT after the Ducks rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second period. Chicago 2, New York 1 (in OT).

Morals of the story:

The game: As fans, we assume the referees' and linesmen's jobs start when they enter the ice and we start booing them. But it starts well before that and continues after the game. Plus, they have to break up fights, calm down angry players and captains, put up with fans' crap and get verbally and physically abused. In the WHL, most of the refs have day jobs. One of the most respected is a corporate lawyer in Vancouver. Some are cops. It's perfect. Men who are used to people hating them and who are accustomed to enforcing the law in some way. Who better to watch the lines and keep the peace? Game on, boys.

And fellow fans/armchair refs (myself included), let's face it: We're in the stands eating food where 100 percent of the calories come from fat, drinking beer and wishing we could trade places with the players. We're above the glass, we're not responsible for calls that could change a game and some of us haven't seen the inside of a gym since the temperature outside was above 70 degrees. Players come and go in short shifts so as to give them a rest now and again. Refs and linesmen don't get replaced by the third or fourth line - they skate the full two to three hours (or more in OT or shootouts). They don't get a break to go have misadventures. And something tells me they're not making player-sized million dollar salaries. The next time they levy an unfair call, give 'em a break with a small b. What referees have to deal with before, during and after a game isn't fair either.

Life: In hockey, officials are responsible for everything from uniforms to making sure the off-ice officials are in their place and teams have reported for duty. Their work starts before they set foot on the ice and they have to hangout until the players have exited. Corporate America needs a referee and linesman system. A company should have a miminum of one ref and two linesman to monitor the coming and going of all employees and their daily activities (including executives). Duties would include:

Arriving at the office before the official opening and monitoring the nearby coffee shops and restaurants to ensure that no employees (especially those whose title is director or above) are taking a three-hour coffee break at Starbucks or building paper clip forts while ignoring important company news during conference calls.

Circling the office at five-minute intervals to break up fights over corporate takeovers, media consolidation and the like (also referred to as discussions in which both parties agree to "touch base to see where we are with this in a few days"), listen in on phone calls and read over people's shoulders to prevent insider trading, and break a vital part on the paper shredder to prevent the destruction of potentially incriminating evidence.

Remaining at the office until all employees have left the building to ensure that no one stays behind to move a few numbers around on a spreadsheet, delete a few suspicious emails, backdate some stock options, get their freak on with the executive assistant or call their girlfriend in Ireland on the company's dime.

Next up on 12/11: Section 5, Officials. Rule 33, Linesmen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 30, Rule 30

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Washington and Pittsburgh vs. Carolina Hurricanes.

Why I chose them: Tampa vs. Washington (or vs. any other team, for that matter) - Duh. New readers - welcome and see previous entries for a full explanation. Pittsburgh vs. Carolina - the brothers Staal face off against each other. Mais, oui.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 30, Signals.

Number of sections in the rule: 33 Signals.

Definition: This is a complete written and graphic description of the hand and arm signals that the refs use to indicate calls. They are listed in alphabetical order and include the following: butt-ending, boarding, clipping, cross-checking, goal scored, high sticking, holding, hooking, icing, misconduct, roughing, slashing, tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct and wash out.

My favorite highlights: Fittingly, the signal for misconduct (30.23) is hands on hips. Logical signals include: 30.11, goal scored (single point directed at the goal in which the puck legally entered); 30.10 elbowing (tapping either elbow with the opposite hand) and 30.17, hooking (a tugging motion with both arms as if as if pulling something from in front of the stomach). One of the more complicated is 30.18, icing: (a) The back Linesman signals a possible icing by fully extending either arm over his head. The arm should remain raised until the front Linesman either blows the whistle to indicate an icing or until the icing is washed out. (b) Once the icing has been completed, the back Linesman will then point to the appropriate face-off spot and skate to it, turning backwards somewhere near the blue line and crossing his arms across his chest to indicate icing.

The final scores: Carolina 3, Pittsburgh 2. Washington 3, Tampa Bay 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: Referees not only have to know all 87 rules, they have to know their own version of sign language to indicate calls. Let's face it -- if most of us had to retain that much information for our jobs, we'd be fired because we couldn't do it. Sure, we have an employee handbook from our company, but how many of us actually memorize it, let alone read the damn thing? And we probably went to college to learn how to do our job, but how many textbooks do we recall from memory? Exactly. Give 'em a kibble now and again, fellow nerds. They're doing their jobs and they're doing it better than most of us ever could.

Life: How cool would it be if we could use hand signals instead of words to signal other people's ordinary offenses? Examples include:

Signal for end of "overtime" meetings that have no agenda, a minimum of 150 PowerPoint slides and have already put two high-ranking executives into a coma: Point at presenter with one hand and use the other to point at the door.

Signal for get off your cell phone in yoga class or I will kill you: Stand behind offender and wrap both hands around neck, without actually touching skin. With hands approximately two inches from skin, simulate throttling motion by moving hands back and forth rapidly.

Signal that the bank teller at the far end is open don't just stand there you idiot I'm already cutting into my lunch hour with this errand run: Simulate a kicking motion by kicking the right leg out to the side in several swift motions. Alternate signal choice: push both hands straight out from your chest towards the offender, as if pushing him or her forward.

Next up on 12/9: Section 5, Officials. Rule 31, Appointment of Officials and Rule 32, Referees.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 29, Rule 29

The game: Ottawa vs. Anaheim and Detroit vs. New York Rangers.

Why I chose it: Alas, my favorite underappreciated Swiss goalie isn't starting in net for Anaheim. Not to worry - my personal #2 backup Henrik Lundqvist is starting for New York. Game on.

The Rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 29, Supplementary Discipline.

Numer of sections in the rule: 2.

Definition: This rule gives the Commissioner the right to investigate and impose additional discipline (fines, suspensions) on top of automatic fines and suspensions and applies not only to players, but also to goalkeepers, managers, trainers, coaches, non-playing club personnel or club executives. It applies to pre-season, exhibition, league or playoff games and includes offenses committed during or in the aftermath of a game. The catch is that the discipline has to be undertaken within 24 hours of the game in which the offense occurred.

My favorite highlight: 29.2, Pre-Season and Exhibition Games. Whenever suspensions are imposed as a result of infractions occurring during pre-season and exhibition games, the Comissioner shall exercise his discretion in scheduling the suspensions to ensure that no team shall be short more players in any regular League game than it would have been had the infractions occurred in regular League games.

The current score: Detroit vs. Rangers - tied at 1 at end of second period. Ottawa vs. Anaheim tied at 2 at end of first period.

Morals of the story:

The game: Ok, let me get this straight. This rule at first appears to be the "just in case you thought you were getting away with something, think again" rule. But then it contradicts itself by not punishing the team with a man disadvantage once the regular season starts. How like life hockey is. We have all these rules and laws to keep us in line, but all of them have a loophole that can be exploited. In this case, the loophole is make sure you commit your offenses in pre-season, so the team doesn't have to be a man (or two) down in regular season.

Life: We need supplementary discipline for a number of egregious offenses that are committed in life, such as:

--Offense: Bailout plan paying for golden parachutes and CEO bonuses for Wall Street Executives. Supplementary Discipline: Since the taxpayers ended up paying for these, an independent representative of the people should have the right to investigate and add further punishment, like, say, automatic sale of their trophy houses (all of them), and forced house arrest in a trailer park with minimum wage (after taxes) and a bus pass, thereby forcing said CEOs to ride among the people whose taxes saved them from the unemployment line.

--Offense: Parents who let their children run around a 4-star restaurant with their very loud toys, stopping here and there to show total strangers the booger on their designer label sweater, instead of making them sit up straight in their chair, napkin folded, talking in "indoor voices." Supplementary Discipline: Forced removal from their reserved window-view table to the kitchen, where the kids can run around all they want and pick up little things off the floor and go "what's this?" and then eat it anyway before you can stop them, while you wait to be served a plate full of whatever scraps the polite, well-behaved customers didn't want.

--Offense: Addendum to a previous entry. Anyone who talks on a cell phone in inappropriate locations, including but not limited to libraries, quiet romantic restaurants, trains, planes and automobiles and bank lines. Supplementary Discipline: Permanent house arrest in a single room apartment with a rotary phone (no answering machine), a manual typewriter with the one key that doesn't type and a black and white TV with three channels. Your name will be placed on a technology "most wanted" list so if you even THINK about buying an iPhone, it will result in your immediate arrest, and will be punishable by an automatic fine of more money than you make in a year and a minimum of one year in prison.

Next up on 12/7: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 30, Signals.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 28, Rule 28

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago and Tampa Bay vs. Islanders.

Why I chose them: Marion Hossa returns to the scene of the crime. Pittsburgh v. Chicago is my early season prediction for the teams who will face off in this year's Stanley Cup final. As for the other - see previous entries.

My favorite play: Jordan Staal lurking around Chicago's bench for no apparent reason at the face off in the third period, with less than 2 minutes to go...until he scored the game-tying goal moments later. The scoreboard may have ended at Chicago 2, Pittsburgh 1 in OT, but that goal was a thing of truly staggering beauty.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 28, Goalkeeper's Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 9.

Definition: Instead of including the goaltender in the individual rules for minor, major, match, misconduct and game misconduct penalties, they've lumped them all together in this rule. If a goalkeeper incurs a minor or major penalty, his penalty will be served by another member of his team. In the case of a match, misconduct or game misconduct penalty, he will be replaced by another member of his team. For misconduct, it has to be a player who was on the ice at the time the offense occurred. Offenses for which a minor penalty is imposed include leaving the crease during an altercation, participating in play over the red line, and playing the puck outside the goalkeeper's restricted area. Infractions for which a goalkeeper may be penalized include: throwing the puck towards the opponents goal, piling snow or other obstacles, using blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face, and deliberately falling on the puck inside or outside the crease.

My favorite highlight: 28.6, Leaving the Goal Crease. A minor penalty shall be imposed on a goalkeeper who leaves the immediate vicinity of his crease during an altercation. In addition, he shall be subject to a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) and this incident shall be reported to the Commissioner for such further disciplinary action as may be required. However, should the altercation occur in or near the goalkeeper's crease, the Referee should direct the goalkeeper to a neutral location and not assess a penalty for leaving the immediate vicinity of the goal crease. Equally, if the goalkeeper is legitimately outside the immediate vicinity of the goal crease for the purpose of proceeding to the players' bench to be substituted for an extra attacker, and he subsequently becomes involved in an altercation, the minor penalty for leaving the crease would not be assessed.

The final scores: Chicago 2, Pittsburgh 1 (in OT). Tampa 4, Islanders 0.

Number of offenses by goalkeepers: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: So, let me get this straight. A goalkeeper gets dinged for getting into a fight, shoving match, whatever if he's outside the crease, but if he stays in it, no penalty? Sweet. On the other hand, try getting into a serious fight with a six-foot-six forward inside a space that is all of four feet by six feet. It's like a really small version of Vegas: what happens inside the goaltender's crease stays in the crease. Works for me.

Life: It's probably a good thing we don't have this rule in life. All the offenses in this rule relate to stepping outside the restricted areas where the goaltender is permitted to play. Imagine life if you couldn't step outside your world into another country, or even another neighborhood while everyone else got to do so and their lives moved at lightning speed while yours stayed in the crease. What if you couldn't leave your cube or office all day at work, and everytime you did they garnished your paycheck? We weren't meant to stay inside life's crease. But just like this rule, life tries like hell to keep us there. Want my advice? Cross the red line, get into an altercation outside the crease, play the puck outside the restricted zone. Take the penalty, pay the fine. Live outside your world.

Next up on 12/6: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 29, Supplementary Discipline.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 27, Rule 27

The game: Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey.

Why I chose it: It's Friday, it's French-Canadian captain facing off against French-Canadian goalie. I need to do little else but watch, consume little orange-chocolate snacks and refill my wine glass.

Response to recent comments: I don't watch the scoreboard during Tampa games, silly. It distracts from my ability to reluquer the honkin' tall French captain.

My favorite new hockey expression: One of the broadcasters noting that a player "dropped the mitts" for a fight.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 27, Delayed Penalty.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: Oh, so this isn't what happens when a penalty is called after it happens? Yes, that's what I thought. Wait until you find out what I thought icing was. Here's how it really works: 27.1, Delayed Penalty. If a third player of any team shall be penalized while two players of the same team are serving penalties, the penalty time of the third player shall not commence until the penalty time of one of the two players already penalized has elapsed. Nevertheless, the third penalized player must at once proceed to the penalty bench. He may be substituted for on the ice so as to keep the on-ice strength at no less than three skaters for his team.

My favorite highlight: 27.2, Penalty Expiration. When any team shall have three players penalized at the same time and because of the delayed penalty rule, a substitute for the third offender is on the ice, none of the three penalized players on the penalty bench may return to the ice until play has stopped. When play has been stopped, the player whose full penalty has expired may return to the ice.

The final score: Tampa Bay 1, New Jersey 0 (at 17:00 in the second period).

Number of delayed penalties: Two that I know of - missed part of the replay due to sleeping in and Center Ice not broadcasting replays later in the day for the benefit of late risers.

The morals of the story:

The game: Hey look, an example of fairness in hockey...unless you're the third penalty dude. Then it sucks to be you. If you're the team's designated ding-dong for today and you pull the third penalty, you bookend it with extra bench time. I get it. It's so you can relearn how to count, thus ensuring that you won't do it again.

Life: I would love to apply this rule to one of my ex-boyfriends in New York, who turned out to have been dating his ex-girlfriend in the last weeks of our relationship, a fact about which I was informed in a breakup email. In my rule, he would get assigned to the penalty bench while I tell her the truth and she packs up to leave him. If the penalty expires and he's still on the penalty bench and she still hasn't split, he has to sit there until she does. If she's one of those "stand by her man" even though he cheated on me and will do it again idiots, then I hope he likes the view from the box.

Next up on 12/5: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 28, Goalkeeper's Penalties.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 26, Rule 26

The game: Tampa Bay vs. Boston.

Why I chose it: Duh. Honkin' tall French captain and even taller and equally easy on the eyes D-man Zdeno Chara in one game. It's picnic time for grown up teddy bears.

My peeve: In the wake of suspensions, injuries and fines, players are busting the cliches again. The latest is "we just have to play our game." What, exactly, is your game? Is it scoring goals and avoiding penalties? Or perhaps racking up penalties in pursuit of keeping the other guys from scoring? Do tell. Because if it's what's going on out there right now (check out Florida Panthers' d-man Keith Ballard slashing his own goalie in the ear in an act of anger), I'd suggest playing someone else's game.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 26, Awarded Goals.

Number of sections in the rule: 4.

Definition: This is really just an extension of Rule 25. Awarded Goals are those that are awarded to teams who have an infraction committed against them while taking a penalty shot. 26.1 Awarded Goal states that "a goal will be awarded to the attacking team when the opposing team has taken their goalkeeper off the ice and an attacking player has possession and control of the puck in the neutral zone or attacking zone, without a defending player between himself and the opposing goal and he is prevented from scoring as a result of an infraction committed by the defending team. Infractions that result in an awarded goal being awarded when the goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker include: delaying the game, handling the puck, illegal substitution, interference, throwing stick and leaving the players or penalty bench.

My favorite highlight: 26.4, Infractions - During the Course of a Penalty Shot. A goal will be awarded when a goalkeeper attempts to stop a penalty shot by throwing his stick or any other object at the player taking the shot or by deliberately dislodging the goal.

The final score: Boston 4, Tampa Bay 1.

Number of goals awarded for infractions: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: Most of the infractions for which goals are awarded are obvious, especially the one about throwing objects at the player or dislodging the goal. It's like robbing a bank without a gun or a ski mask. Get it over with and just turn yourself in already. Better yet, don't do it at all.

Life: If only life were as fair as this rule. If you cheat in an obvious way to prevent a goal, the team taking a shot gets it anyway to punish you for being a twit. I'm sure we'd all like to get a few awarded goals for the people who interfered with our attempt to score a goal. Here's my short list:

Infraction: My parents moving in my senior year of high school, just as I finally found a competitive sport I was good at and started dating one of the star players on the basketball team in the makings of a cool summer romance. Awarded goal: free trip in a top-secret NASA time machine to stop my father's employer from transferring him.

Infraction: One of my friends inviting the boy I liked to the prom, the same day she knew I was going to ask him. Awarded goal: Either instantaneous empowerment with telekinesis a la Brian De Palma's horror classic "Carrie" so I could extract my revenge at said event OR guaranteed date of my choosing from the water polo team that he played on, who would have made ample substitutes.

Infraction: Dating a rocket scientist for a whole summer when I was 30 and actually thinking he might actually like me until he announced that he wanted a serious relationship with someone but not me and went back to living with his ex-girlfriend. Awarded goal: Already happened. The next summer I ran into him in Union Square and he was totally bald, bored at his job and unhappy in the relationship. What goes around comes around and sometimes it comes around the corner at lunch, carrying a Duane Reade bag full of Rogaine and Advil.

Next up on 12/4: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 27, Delayed Penalties.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 25, Rule 25

The game: Columbus vs. Chicago.

Why I chose it: Tampa Bay's not playing tonight, so I need a different tall, French-speaking player to reluquer. The subsitute: Cristobal Huet. Height: Six feet. Place of birth: Saint-Martin d'Heres, France. Vive la France, especially if they have a save percentage of .911.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 25, Penalty Shot.

Number of sections in the rule: 8 sections and 3 1/2 pages.

The quirk: Rule 24 is not in use. Gross misconduct penalties have been reclassified as game misconduct penalties (23.7).

Definition: This rule defines a penalty shot and covers procedure, designated player, violations during the shot, face off locations, results, timing and infractions. A penalty shot is designed to restore a scoring opportunity which was lost as the result of a foul being comitted by the offending team, based on the parameters set out in these rules. The foul/infraction has to be committed in the neutral zone or attacking zone and must have happened from behind.

Check this out from violations (25.4): Should the goalkeeper leave his crease prior to the player taking the penalty shot has touched the puck and in the event of violation of this rule or any foul committed by a goalkeeper, the Referee shall allow the shot to be taken and if the shot fails, he shall permit the penalty shot to be taken over again. When an infraction worthy of a minor penalty is committed by the goalkeeper during the penalty shot that causes the shot to fail, no penalty is to be assessed but the Referee shall permit the shot to be taken over again. Should a goalkeeper commit a second violation during the penalty shot and the shot fails, he shall be assessed a misconduct penalty and the Referee shall permit the penalty shot to be taken over again. A third such violation shall result in the goalkeeper being assessed a game misconduct penalty.

So... no cheating for the goalkeepers, then?

My favorite highlight: 25.2, Procedure. The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent's goal line and once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete. No goals may be scored on rebounds and any time the puck crosses the goal line or comes to a complete stop, the shot is considered complete. The lacross-like move in whereby the puck is picked up on the blade of the stick and "whipped" into the net shall be permitted provided the puck is not raised above the height of the shoulders at any time and when released, is not carried higher than the crossbar. The spin-o-rama move where the player completes a 360 degree turn as he approaches the goal shall be permitted as this involves continuous motion. No, I didn't make up spin-o-rama. It's in the book.

The final score: Chicago 4, Columbus 3 (in a record-breaking 11-round shootout)

The morals of the story:

The game: Another example of how much harsher the rules are for goaltenders compared to players. Netminders so much as come out of the crease and they are toast. But players can bust a show-off move stolen from figure skating and named for a theme park ride? If players can spin around in a complete circle, shouldn't goalies at least be able to do that thing where dogs walk around in a circle three times before they go to sleep? Oh right, this is hockey. What was I thinking?

Life: Penalty shots restore the balance to an unfair play, and if players try to disrupt the attempt at fairness, they're penalized. Life doesn't let you take a penalty shot if somebody gets in your way. We need to take our cue from the NHL rulebook and lobby legislators for a new law that would award the life equivalent of a penalty shot for the offenses that people commit in order to interrupt others' scoring opportunities. Here are just a few examples:

Offense: cutting someone off in traffic so you can hurry up and get through the green light and cut three other people off en route to the freeway, where you will sit for an hour drinking lukewarm overpriced coffee and being distracted by little electronic devices and wishing you were somewhere else, the same as everyone else. Penalty shot: Switches built into cars so the people who got cut off can automatically engage the offender's emergency brake and keep it locked until at least a mile's worth of traffic has passed him or her.

Offense: increasingly encroaching on people's personal space (also known as "the bubble") so you can get a better spot to stand on the train platform, luggage carousel at the airport or anywhere else you need a tactical space advantage. Penalty shot: All handbags and computer bags will be installed with air bags that inflate instantly when someone gets inside the bubble, thereby knocking them unconscious and preventing others from trying to take their spot.

Offense: Taking credit for another person's work and giving them a bad job review in order to keep them down and promote yourself. Penalty shot: Individual against whom the offense was committed shall be able to hire a private investigator at the company's expense to investigate every dirty little thing the offender ever did (including present crime) and present it in a PowerPoint to company executives, followed by public demotion and/or firing of offender while their underlings feast on Krispy Kreme donuts and plan how they're going to redecorate the offender's office when they move into it.

Next up on 12/2: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 26, Awarded Goals.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 23, Rule 23

The game: Replay of Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers.

Why I chose it: Mais oui. Before it was over, there was a Sidney Crosby hat trick, a Max Talbot goal and total obliteration of the Rangers.

My peeve: I had to get up before noon on Sunday to watch the replay. Ce n'est pas plaisir, but it was worth it.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 23, Game Misconduct Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 7.

Definition: I get it now. The penalties are listed in order of increasing seriousness. A game misconduct penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game but a substitute is permitted to replace immediately the player so removed. The punishment is as serious as the offense - it involves an automatic fine and increasing number of game supsensions for each offense. It's like the rule in school where if you were absent a ton of times you got kicked out. There is also a sort of "time off for good behavior" clause in here, such that if you behave yourself for a certain number of games without further offenses, they are removed from the current record but they stay in the historical record. There are different categories for game misconduct: general, automatic game misconduct, automatic game misconduct where there is injury to the face or head and stick related. Infractions in the general category include: inciting an opponent into incurring a penalty, head butting, interference, charging, third major penalty in a game, throwing stick outside the playing area, not properly tied down during an altercation, resisting a Linesman in the discharge of his duties and obscene language or gestures. This rule also applies to actions against spectators.

My favorite highlights: 23.5, Stick Infractions, Boarding, Checking from Behind Category. In playoff games, any player who incurs a total of two (2) game misconduct penalties for stick-related infractions, Boarding - Rule 42 or Checking from Behind -- Rule 44, shall be suspended automatically for the next League game of his team. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty, the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game. Prior to the commencement of each Stanley Cup finals, a player will have his current stick-related, boarding or checking from behind game misconducts removed from his current playoff record. They will remain part of his historical record. When a player has played in 41 consecutive regular League games without being assessed a stick-related major and a game misconduct penalty according to Rule 20 -- Major Penalties or Rule 22 -- Misconduct Penalties, he will have the previous game misconduct penalties removed from his current record. They will remain part of his historical record.

In addition, the following list of infractions can also result in a game misconduct penalty being assessed:

(i) intefering with or striking a spectator
(ii) racial taunts or slurs
(iii) spitting on or at an opponent or spectator

Food for thought: Nowhere does it call for penalties or removal of fans who do any of the above three items. Should I be banned from the rink for using the f-word occasionally or booing a ref? Probably not. But racial comments or physical harm is not anymore acceptable for fans than it is for players.

The final score: Pittsburgh 8, New York Rangers 3.

Number of game misconducts assessed: 0. But Matt Cooke was suspended for two games for a deliberate check to the head on Artem Anisimov.

The morals of the story:

The game: This shows how important the Stanley Cup is. You there, with the checking from behind, you're outta here, and here's your automatic fine. You're gone. Bye-bye. Oh wait, it's the Stanley Cup final? Never mind, here's your illegal stick and your free pass to board and check from behind. Go forth and conquer. It also looks like it gives you time off for good behavior, but think again. You have to play in 41 consecutive regular League games without further ado in order to get it removed from your current record. Each team plays 82 games during a regular season - if you commit the game misconduct(s) past the halfway mark, this isn't going to happen.

Life: I love this section of rules - I have a whole shopping list of people and/or things who should be on life's game misconduct list. Only in my rules, you don't get the record wiped clean after 41 games. One time crime, lifetime penalty in my book. Here is my short list:

1) Any man who acts interested in you until you sleep with him and then suddenly loses your phone number until he realizes that no other woman will put up with this crap and he magically finds it again. Same goes for psycho women who take advantage of nice guys until they decide to go back to their bad-boy boyfriend whom they were dating on the side the whole time they were dating said nice guy. Automatic fine and permanent removal of dating privileges until you're old and wrinkled and the only date you can scrounge is talking to the lint balls on his or her sweater.

2) Anyone who seeks to do harm to children or elder citizens - in any way. Free escort to the farthest edge of the Nevada desert in July with a year's supply of toilet paper, Tang and pop tarts. What you do to survive (or not) after that is up to you.

3) Anyone who does not appreciate the following: hockey and hockey players (especially those who exceed six feet in height and speak French), Winnie the Pooh, Star Wars movies, getting up at noon and not a minute sooner on Sundays (except for vital hockey replays), red wine and chocolate, Mini Coopers, Lord of the Rings film trilogy, brunch, latte (whole milk, caffeinated, double shot) and barbecue nachos at Winterhawks games (Portland residents only). You will hereby be relegated to the farthest reach of the Nevada desert in July with a month's supply of fat-free Pop Tarts and your only source of conversation will be with someone who is talking to the little fuzz balls on their socks.

Next up on 12/1: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 25, Penalty Shot. Rule 24, gross misconduct, is no longer in use. It is now part of game misconduct penalties.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 22, Rule 22

The game: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Islanders.

Why I chose it: Sheer necessity. I'll be en route to a Winterhawks game later and won't be able to watch the Pittsburgh vs. Rangers game except on replay. But Martin Brodeur is always worth watching - even if you lose in the end, getting a shot by him should be worth some sort of extra point. The man is like a human version of bullet proof vests.

My peeve: It looks like there will be no live Olympic trip for me. All the hotels require a 5-night stay or the packages are $2500 and up for hotel and tickets. And the seats for the Canada vs. Switzerland game are sold out. Not even one single scrap of a ticket for just one person. Not to worry - I still plan to finish the rule book in time for the games, at which time I will turn my eye to the IILF rules. And then it's on to the business of hockey: trade deadline, lottery draft in June, off-season trading, unrestricted vs. restricted agents, etc. Keep reading and you'll learn more about hockey than you ever wanted to.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 22, Misconduct Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: Misconduct by any players but the goalkeeper results in the offending players being ruled off the ice for a period of 10 minutes each. But the team is allowed to replace him, so the team is not short handed. Also, the player in the box can't leave when the penalty is expired. Rather, he has to wait until the next stoppage of play. For the goalie, the penalty is served by another player who was on the ice at the time of the offense. Misconduct carries an automatic fine of $100 to the offending player. The player does not cause his team to be shorthanded unless he also receives a minor, major or match penalty in addition to the misconduct. Infractions that can result in a misconduct penalty include: banging boards with stick in protest of an official's ruling, deliberately breaking stick or refusing to surrender stick for measurement, instigating a fight, refusing to change non-regulation piece of protective equipment, fighting off the playing surface, verbal abuse of officials and use of profane or abusive language.

My favorite highlight: 22.3, Short handed. In addition to what's noted above, this also states: When a player receives a minor penalty and a misconduct penalty at the same time, the penalized team shall immediately put a substitute player on the penalty bench and he shall serve the minor penalty without change. Should the opposing team score while the minor penalty is being served, the minor penalty shall terminate (unless 15.4 is applicable) and the misconduct to the originally penalized player shall commence immediately. Aha. Now I get why an extra/non-offending player sometimes comes into the penalty bench.

The final score: New Jersey 6, Islanders 1.

Number of misconduct penalties assessed: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: What I want to know is what extreme do you have go to in order to pull a minor, major, match and/or misconduct at the same time? I think Vancouver pulled it off about a week ago when two opposing players who were sent to the penalty bench for fighting started getting into it on the bench, and one tried to poke the other one with his stick. It's like the fight that never ended. Also, the use of profane language rule is a bit ironic, considering that swearing is as much a part of hockey as the ice itself. I know the rule is targeted at things like telling the ref to bugger off, but what if it meant every player was dinged every time they used profane language? Please. The ice and the benches would be emptied in about five minutes.

Life: A lawyer must have written this rule. Like our justice system, this rule has caveats so the whole team doesn't have to pay for one man's action. Well, at least until he commits more than one. What if we applied something similar to our justice system? Every time we give a criminal a break the first time and he or she does it again, society has to pay for being too lenient by serving part of that person's extra penalty. If we knew that we had to serve part of a drunk driver's penalty or register as a sex offender to serve it for them, would we just shrug our shoulders and say "too bad, but there's nothing I can do about it?" I doubt it. We'd do everything we could to keep ourselves out of the box and put the offenders back in.

Next up on 11/29: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 23, Game Misconduct Penalties.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 21, Rule 21

The games: Center Ice is airing a full day of hockey games, every hour on the hour. I've got my eye on Pittsburgh vs. Islanders and Anaheim vs. Chicago. Oohh, and Tampa Bay vs. New York Rangers. It's window shopping, NHL style.

Why I chose them: Some girls get up at 3 am to go shopping. I get up at 9 am to watch hockey.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 21, Match Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 4.

Definition: There is no BS about this one. A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately. A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner. Infractions that can result in a match penalty include: attempt to injure in any manner, biting, hair pulling, grabbing of the face mask, high sticking, kneeing, slashing, kicking a player or goalkeeper and wearing tape on hands in altercation.

My favorite highlight: 21.2, Short Handed. A substitute player is permitted to replace the penalized player after five (5) minutes playing time has elapsed. The match penalty, plus any additional penalties, shall be served by a player to be designated by the Manager or Coach of the offending team through the playing Captain, such player to take his place in the penalty box immediately. For all match penalties, regardless of when imposed, or prescribed additional penalties, a total of ten minutes shall be charged in the records against the player. In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue. See also Rule 29 - Supplementary Discipline.

The final scores: Islanders 3, Pittsburgh 2. Anaheim 3, Chicago 0 (at end of second period). Tampa vs. NY Rangers is up next.

Number of match penalties assessed: 0.

The morals of the story:

The games: Fighting is one thing and something most fans expect in the course of a game. But even fans will tell you that deliberately going after another player maliciously is not cool, dude. There is a reason this rule is simple - because there isn't any excuse for doing intentional harm. Not in life and not in hockey.

BUT -- I'm pretty sure they can do away with hair pulling for the 2010-2011 season - if players insist on going retro by wearing a semblance of a mullet, other players are doing them a favor by pulling it out.

Life: If only people who do deliberate harm to others in life could be sent down so easily. Blow the whistle and throw your ass out automatically with no chance of return until a higher authority rules. No trial by jury of peers that takes four years to reach the court while the guilty suspect jumps bail. No getting out on technicalities. No DNA evidence. No defense attorney looking for their fifteen minutes of fame who finds a loophole to get you out of it. Nothing. You do it. You're gone. Game over.

Next up on 11/18: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 22, Misconduct Penalties.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 20, Rule 20

The game: Replay of Chicago vs. Calgary.

Why I chose it: Chicago rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the first period to beat the Calgary Flames in overtime, 6-5. Great sports moments never go out of style.

The quirk: NHL Network is also airing replays of Nashville vs. Ottawa and Washington vs. Philadelphia. All three games ended with a score of 6-5 in overtime.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 20, Major Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: This is a no excuses, no exceptions rule. It outlines the infractions for which major penalties may be assessed, substitution rules, what constitutes an automatic game misconduct and fines for major penalties. And forget that short-handed quirk where you can leave the bench if the other team scores while you're short handed. In this case, if the other team scores, the guy serving five minutes for the major penalty has to stay on the bench until the penalty expires. Infractions for which major penalties are assesssed include: hooking (rule 55), charging (rule 43), checking from behind (rule 44), cross-checking (rule 59), fighting (rule 47) and interference (rule 56). Many of these also result in automatic game misconduct, along with instigating fights or fighting after the original altercation occurred.

My favorite highlight: 20.3, Substitution. When a player has been assessed a major penalty and has been removed from the game or is injured, the offending team does not have to place a substitute player on the penalty bench immediately, but must do so at a stoppage of play prior to the expiration of the major penalty. He may then legally exit the penalty bench when the major penalty is expired. Furthermore, if the team fails to place a player on the penalty bench to return to the ice at the end of the major penalty, they continued to play short-handed but are not permitted to ice the puck as they are no longer short-handed by reason of penalty. My head hurts. I thought nobody was permitted to ice the puck and that's why they blow the whistle on it. They need to put these rules in a more logical order.

The final score: Chicago 6, Calgary 5 (in OT).

Major penalties assessed: 2.

The morals of the story:

The game: True hockey fans love a good fight, but racking up major penalties and game misconducts causes serious harm not only to the team's ability to score and defend their zone, it erodes their reputation and sportsmanship. If a team is better known for its left hook than its talent, it can cost them promotional opportunities, their fan base and the good favor of the commissioner. Fighting and other major penalties should be an action of last resort, not an act of desperation to beat a better team. On the other hand, that fight between Jerome Iginla and Troy Brouwer in the second period was pretty cool.

As for the rally to beat life, it's not too late to come back until the final buzzer sounds.

Life: I've got a list of people in life who should assessed a major penalty or game misconduct/automatic removal from the game. These individuals should be removed from society for five weeks, and no equally annoying person shall be permitted to replace them during this time. Here is my list of infractions for which a major penalty will be assessed:

1) talking on cell phones in thoroughly inappropriate locations, including but not limited to: cutting off a conversation with a live person to take a call in a sad attempt to show how important you think you are; libraries; book stores; otherwise quiet bus rides home; trains; movie theatres; plays; quiet romantic restaurants and bank lines. A game misconduct will be assessed in addition to the major penalty if said individual is talking in an excessively loud voice and/or repeating themselves 10 or 12 times because the person at the other end is in a dead zone. Automatic season-long suspension for anyone who talks on a phone or texts while in a car . No exceptions, no substitutions.

2) Drivers who don't know where they are going and instead of pulling over, weave in and out of lanes while going 20 miles an hour and then turn with no signal or warning when they finally figure out where they're going. A game misconduct will be assessed in addition to the major penalty if said individual is doing this on a freeway.

3) Overly entitled individuals who think that life is hard and whine because their cell phone died, their Tivo didn't record something or Starbucks ran out of soy creamer for their fat-free, sugar-free, extra hot vanilla latte. Note to twats: if you want hard, try using a rotary phone, having a Radio Shack VCR that eats tapes and having only two coffee options -- Dunkin' Donuts original blend with or without cream. No special orders, no exceptions.

4) Anyone who takes at least two minutes to order a latte in Starbucks because it takes that long to rattle off all the instructions for all the crap they don't want in their coffee. In addition to the penalty, offenders must be removed from my presence permanently for their own safety and well-being.

5) Non-appreciators of hockey who think that fans all live in a double-wide and drink wine out of a box. Think again tiddlywinks. Most of us have college degrees and high paying executive jobs. We live in homes with kids and dogs and yards and go to high-end wine tastings on the weekend. We own businesses and have VP next to our names. We simply like to watch large men score goals, defend their zone, fight, swear and hit each other in the head every now and again. Nothing wrong with that. This penalty will only be erased if offenders get on board with the rest of us and convert to being lifelong hockey fans.

Next up on 11/27: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 21, Match Penalties.