Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 1, Rule 1

The game: Toronto at Anaheim, October 26, 2009. Jonas Hiller is starting in goal. Toronto comes in with their worst start to the regular season in franchise history.

Why I chose it: It’s an hour until the replay of Phoenix-NY Rangers game on Center Ice and that's an hour without hockey - not gonna happen. And, I only watch Anaheim when Jonas Hiller is the starting goaltender.

My peeve: If one more player or coach in the NHL says “we just have to keep it simple” I might have to rethink this whole hockey worship thing. Simple means fewer fights, fewer power plays, and fewer backhanded hat tricks into the Carolina net during the semi-finals. Why bother? If fans want to see a simple game, we'll let you know.

The quirk: Both goaltenders are named Jonas.

The rule: Section: 1, the playing area. Rule 1, the Rink.

Total number of sections in the rule: 9.

Definition: This literally defines every inch of the rink, from the width and PMS color of the blue lines to the dimensions of the faceoff circles and the goalie’s restricted area. Did you know, for example, that the bottom of the kickboards must be bright yellow? That the blue lines and center line must extend fully up the sides of the boards? Or that the goaltender’s restricted area (the trapezoid outlined area behind the goal) must be five feet outside of each goal crease? Do you care? I do. I love it. At long last, I know the exact definition of the divisions between the neutral zone, the defending zone and the attacking zone.

My favorite highlight:
Section 1.5, Lines: “the ice area between the two goals shall be divided into three parts by lines, twelve inches (12”) in width, and blue in color, drawn sixty-four (64’) out from the goal lines, and extended completely across the rink, parallel with the goal lines, and continued vertically up the side of the boards (Paint Code PMS 286).” Memorize it. I dare you.

Number of times rule violated: 0. Unless the paint police called a foul while I was opening a bottle of cabernet.

The final score: Toronto 6, Anaheim 3. Look at it this way Ducks fans – our team nobly sacrificed themselves to end Toronto’s dismal start to the regular season.

The morals of the story:
The game – Quite literally, every inch of the rink has to meet specific requirements. There are no exceptions without authority from the NHL. The people who layout and build the rinks deserve their own Stanley Cup. And Anaheim needs a regular season do-over. Or a spa weekend.

Life – If only we could divide our lives with the mathematical precision of a hockey rink. The line between work and play will be a minimum of 100 feet and no employer shall cross it past 5 pm. The distance between you and your ex will be a minimum of one mile and must be laid out in a cell phone “dead zone,” ensuring that neither party can make midnight desperation phone calls.

Up next on 10/28: Rule 2, goalposts and nets.


  1. Hockey and life: and if only we could whack things with big sticks and skate away without anyone being hurt ...yeah!

  2. Love the application of the rules to life...if only it could be that simple! Excellent blog, but what, exactly, is a record?