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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 19, Rule 19

The games: All but 2 teams are in action. Fourteen games, 8 hours. I think I can actually watch all of them before midnight.

Why I chose to sit here and watch hockey instead of hang out in an airport waiting for an airline to strand me on the runway: On deck tonight are Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Montreal and the New York Rangers, among others. It's the grown up, virtual equivalent of a petting zoo, except I can't touch or feed the animals.

My peeve: I can't touch or feed the animals.

My favorite plays: Tampa Bay scoring twice in 30 seconds in the first period. Sergei Gonchar's third goal against Montreal in the second period.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 19, Coincidental Penalties.

Numbe of sections in the rule: 5, divided into sections for minor, major and match penalties, and overtime.

Definition: No, this is not the penalties that just happen by accident in the course of normal play. Not that I thought that...but if I did, now I know. This rule does the math for referees when more than one penalty (match, minor, major) happens to both teams at the same time, including substitutions for players who must leave the game (for major or match penalties). It's like a hockey version of musical chairs. Check this out: when multiple penalties are assessed to both teams, equal numbers of minor and major penalties shall be eliminated using the coincident penalty rule and any differential in time penalties shall be served in the normal manner and displayed on the penalty clock accordingly. If there is no differential in time penalties, all players will serve their alloted penalty time, but will not be released until the first stoppage of play following the expiration of their respective penalties. This rule also provides guidance on serving of penalties that carry over into overtime. If I'm right, this is how 4-on-4 and 5-on-3 get decided.

My favorite highlight: This is even better. It's the only part of this rule I actually understand. 19.5, Applying the Coincidental Penalty Rule. When multiple penalties are assessed to both teams at the same stoppage of play, the following rules are to be utilized by the Referees to determine the on-ice strength for both teams:
(i): cancel as many major and or match penalties as possible
(ii): cancel as many minor, bench minor, and or double-minor penalties as possible

I love it. When in doubt, cancel everything and start over. Excellent plan.

The final scores: Tampa Bay vs. Toronto, Pittsburgh vs. Montreal... oh, never mind. Just check out Pick the team of your choice.

The morals of the story:

The game: I think I'm beginning to understand the basic concept behind the serving of penalties. If both teams get equally pissed off and commit a penalty, depending on the severity of it, they both get out of jail free. If you think about it, they could totally rig a game by agreeing up front to commit a penalty to match the other team's offense, thereby getting everybody back on the ice faster. But then again, that would level the playing field, and we wouldn't want a fair hockey game, now would we?

Life: This is the hockey equivalent of the government bailout for the banking and financial industry. They were all in the box serving multiple, simultaneous penalties for lying, cheating, stealing and writing bad loans to us and Congress came along and cancelled all of them out. On our tax-paying dime - we're basically paying them back for stealing from us. And all the banks had to do is serve the time differential on the simultaneous penalties. Oh non! Ce n'es pas juste!

Next up on 11/25: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 20, Major Penalties. It's all reruns on the NHL Network, but the lesson will be new.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 18, Rule 18

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Florida, Anaheim vs. Calgary. Oh wait, Jonas Hiller isn't starting in goal... never mind. Philadelphia vs. Colorado is looking like an ample substitute. Somebody must have forgotten their pre-game snack, because they're eating each other alive.

Why I chose them: It's Monday, and therefore it is imperative that I watch multiple games in which large men who grew up outside the United States sweat, spit, swear and spend a minimum of 20 minutes on the penalty bench, preferably for drawing blood if at all possible.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 18, Double Minor Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: It's elementary, Dear Watson. A double minor is 4 minutes (bench minor penalty x 2). This goes back to the minor penalty rule - if you're the offending team, the only way to kill off the extra two minutes on the penalty bench is for your opponent to score a goal. Infractions that can result in a double minor penalty are: butt-ending (Rule 58), head-butting (Rule 48), high sticking (Rule 60) and spearing (Rule 62). Butt-ending sounds like something late-night infomericals use to promote the latest exercise gadget by convincing you you'll burn off all your cellulite in five days or less. But in hockey it's actually what happens when a player tries to use the shaft part of the stick above his upper hand to check an opposing player or jab an opposing player with this part of the stick.

My favorite highlight: Now I know why I've been confused all this time about double minors. 18.1, Double Minor Penalty. When a double minor has been signaled by the Referee, and the non-offending team scores during the delay, one of the minor penalties shall be washed out and the penalized player will serve the remaining two minutes of the double-minor penalty. The penalty will be announced as a double-minor penalty but only two minutes would be shown on the penalty time clock.

The final scores: Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2. Colorado 5, Philadelphia 4.

Number of double minors imposed: Pittsburgh vs. Florida: 1. Philadelphia vs. Colorado: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: This is about as fair as it gets in hockey. If you're doing time on the penalty bench, the trade off for shearing time off your offense is that the other team scores a goal. Even if you stayed on the bench for the full 4 minutes, it still ups the chance the other team will score while you sit there. Either way, you're doing time and they're putting it in the net. Fair? No. But what would you rather do, sit there for the full four minutes while the opposing team scored more goals while you're short handed for a longer period of time? Blessings are few in hockey - count them when you can.

Life: The sad part is that this rule is still way more fair than life. If we commit double minors for which we have to serve extra penalty minutes while Mr. Ferrari/platinum card/yes that's my blonde girlfriend who's young enough to be my daughter but I can still attract 'em/I didn't lose all my money when the market crashed goes breezing by in his Porsche, it doesn't wash out life's penalty minutes. We still have to serve them right to the end.

Have you ever watched a player come off the penalty bench for a full double minor? It's like turning hungry dogs loose in a Sizzler. Get out of the way and lock up the children. That's how we should be in life. The minute the penalty clock winds down, jump off the bench and run like hell into the rest of your life. Waiting out a streak of bad luck is like a hockey game - life doesn't go anywhere, you just have to sit it out every once in a while.

Next up on 11/25: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 19, Coincidental Penalties.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 17, Rule 17

The game: Vancouver. vs. Chicago.

Why I chose it: Because Center Ice didn't broadcast the Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta game.

My peeve: Center Ice didn't broadcast the Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta game. Just because it's on at 2 pm Pacific on a Sunday before Thanksgiving, doesn't mean loyal fans weren't interested. Bah humbug to TV stations who didn't want to broadcast this one.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 17, Bench Minor Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: A bench minor penalty involves the removal from the ice of one player of the team against which the penalty is assessed for 2 minutes. Refer to reference tables for a list of infractions that can result in a bench minor penalty. Oh. Duh. That's it? Yep. This entire rule is shorter than the first section of the last one.

My favorite highlight: 17.1, Bench Minor Penalty. Any player except a goalkeeper of the team may be designated to serve the penalty by the Manager or Coach through the playing Captain and such player shall take his place on the penalty bench promptly and serve the penalty as if it was a minor penalty imposed upon him.

The final score: Chicago 1, Vancouver 0.

Bench minor penalties assessed: 9.

Morals of the story:

The game: This is like the rule of life where bad things happen to good people. If one of your teammates gets injured or ejected or otherwise can't serve said penalty, someone else who wasn't doing anything at all has to serve it. Selfless though it may be, fun it probably isn't. Neither player is digging life, but at least the guy serving it gets the respect for doing the deed.

Life: How awesome would it be if someone else could serve our bench minor penalties for us in life? Any person of my choosing can be designated to serve the penalty because I didn't want to deal with the consequences of my actions. Such player will take their place in my life promptly, so I can move to a new city and start over with a clean slate.

Next up on 11/23: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 18, Double-Minor Penalties.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 16, Rule 16

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Carolina, Pittsburgh vs. Atlanta, Anaheim vs. San Jose.

Why I chose them: Honkin' tall French captain, Stanley Cup Champions and Swiss goalie all in action in one night. Mais, oui.

My peeve: I didn't realize until I read this rule how many penalties go uncalled every night in nearly every game.

Bonus peeve: I don't see an infraction in this rule book for NOT calling penalties.

My favorite play: Atlanta scoring the second goal with 18 seconds to go in the third.

The quirk: If only Tampa Bay had scored another goal, the scores would have been the same in all three games.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 16, Minor Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: This defines how long a player is ruled off the ice for minor penalties (2 minutes), what short handed means, minor penalty expiration criteria and the list of infractions. My favorite lesson is that short handed only applies if a team has fewer men on the bench than their opponents. This is the part where I admit I thought a short handed goal was one where you scored without an assist. Well, that's what it looked like on TV.

There are 27 infractions for which a minor penalty is imposed, each of which has its own rule. These include: boarding (Rule 42), cross-checking (Rule 59), delay of game (Rule 63), holding (Rule 54), hooking (Rule 55), instigator (Rule 47) and roughing (Rule 51).

My favorite highlight: 16.2, Short Handed. "Short handed" means that the team must be below the numerical strength of its opponent on the ice at the time the goal is scored. The minor or bench minor penalty which terminates automatically is the one with the least amount of time on the clock. Thus coincident minor penalties to both Teams do not cause either to be "short handed" (see Rule 19). If while a team is "short handed" by one or more minor or bench minor penalties, the opposing team scores a goal, the first of such penalties shall automatically terminate.

The final scores: Carolina 3, Tampa Bay 1. Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 2. San Jose 3, Anaheim 2.

Number of minor penalties: Tampa/Carolina: 9. Pittsburgh/Atlanta: 6. San Jose/Anaheim: 11.

The morals of the story:

The game: Ah. I get it now. If you're short-handed and you score, all the more impressive. And, if the other team scores, well... at least the penalty is erased. In life if you did things like roughing, hooking, holding or boarding to a total stranger you'd go to jail. The penalty bench is the hockey equivalent of prison. And scoring against a short handed team is the equivalent of a jail break.

Life: We need this rule for the minor penalties we commit in life. If you have committed a minor penalty in the past five years that is still affecting your life choices, you shall be ruled out of everyday life for a minimum of six months to rethink some things, thus leaving your friends and family short handed. If someone among these individuals does something that redeems you in your place, your penalty is automatically removed from the clock and you are allowed to return to your regularly scheduled life.

Aforementioned penalties include, but are not limited to: breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend because you thought you could do better only to realize that was as good as it gets, remodeling your own kitchen when you probably should have let a contractor do it, scraping the car next to you while parking and not leaving a note for them and calling in sick on a Monday because you "just couldn't deal."

Next up on 11/22: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 17, Bench Minor Penalties.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 15, Rule 15

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Anaheim and Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa.

Why I chose them: My small but mighty band of followers can skip this section, since the reasons should be obvious. For newbies, my favorite French hockey captain faces off against my favorite Swiss goalie. And, Max Talbot returns to Pittsburgh's lineup. All three speak fluent French. I believe my French word for today will be eye or ogle.

My peeve: Wasn't Max Talbot and Sergei Gonchar returning to the lineup supposed to be helpful? (see final score below).

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 15, Calling of Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 5.

Definition: Aha. So now I understand how they decide a double minor penalty. And the determination of the face off location. Now we're getting somewhere. This rule defines what drives most fans to near-cardiac events in the stands. It tells the refs how to call a penalty when a goal is scored, the signals to be used when calling a penalty, how signaled penalties will be assessed and/or imposed, and where faceoffs will happen after a penalty has been called. But nowhere does it say what fans should do when they disagree with a call. I might suggest that to the NHL for could save lives.

My favorite highlights: 15.2, Calling a minor penalty - goal scored. If the penalty to be imposed is a minor penalty and a goal is scored on the play by the non-offending side, the minor penalty shall not be imposed but major and match penalties shall be imposed in the normal manner regardless of whather or not a goal is scored. If two or more penalties were to be imposed and a goal is scored on the play by the non-offending side, the Captain of the offending team shall designate to the Referee which minor penalt(ies) will be assessed and which minor penalty will be washed out as the result of the scoring of the goal.

So, the best way for the offending team to get out of an extra penalty and the accompanying power play is for the opposing team to score a goal? On the other hand, the Captain gets to pick which one they get out of. It's like when you eat a cupcake and then go work out for 2 hours. It's not that you didn't eat the cupcake, it's just that you burned it off before your fat cells caught wise.

The final score: Ottawa 6, Pittsburgh 2. Anaheim 4, Tampa Bay 3.

Number of times rule violated: If I polled fans at Honda Center, the number of times a ref called the wrong penalty, assessed it incorrectly or didn't call one at all would be...let's see two, carry the three, add a least, what... 50?

Morals of the story:

The game: Even here in the WHL league in Portland, we boo the refs, every time. But they keep the peace in an game that's anything but peaceful. In return for knowing by heart all 87 rules and the signals for calls, they get booed and underpaid. I have a master's degree and it took me an hour just to understand this rule. And I still have 72 more to go. Give the poor boys a break, fellow fans. We don't have to like what they do, but we do owe them our respect.

Life: Usually in life if you commit the equivalent of a minor penalty, you get a parking ticket, you get a fee charged by your bank for overdraft, or you owe late fees to Blockbuster. We need a more complicated rule for calling penalties, so as to escape said penalties in certain circumstances. For example, if you are late returning your copy of the latest Star Trek movie because you're a nerd and had to watch the final battle scene a few extra times, the late fee should be canceled if you purchase a large tub of popcorn and a new copy of said DVD now that your bank put back the overdraft fee they shouldn't have charged in the first place.

Next up on 11/21: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 16, Minor Penalties.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 14, Rule 14

The games: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers and Carolina vs. Montreal.

Why I chose them: Alex Ovechkin is back and I'm trying relearn French. I could take a class, but why bother when the Montreal game is broadcast en Francais?

My peeve: Critics are ripping my favorite honkin' tall French hockey captain (see previous entries) and calling out the fact that he's been moved to a fourth line. Me personally...if I'd been drafted in the first round, granted Captaincy at 19, stripped of it, gotten it back, won a Stanley Cup, survived John Tortorella and the lockout, only to come in dead last in my division a few years later and topped it off with surgery that ended my 2009 season, I'd give up, move to a cave with a Costco sized supply of wine, peanut butter and Oreos and never come out again.

This is America, world capital of the comeback. Which unless I missed a memo is underway - check the replay of the Tampa Bay/Phoenix game last night. Or, if you're also out there relearning French, Avancer, mes amis.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 14, Adjustment to Clothing or Equipment.

Number of sections in the rule: 1.

Definition: This rule basically states that if you need to adjust your uniform or equipment during a game you need to either leave the game or get over it. And don't even THINK about delaying the game with it. Not allowed and not tolerated. There's not even a penalty - it's like the "don't even go there" rule. They won't even bother with your weenie ass.

My favorite highlights: 14.1, Adjustment to Clothing or Equipment. Play shall not be stopped nor the game delayed by reasons of adjustments to clothing, equipment, skates or sticks. The onus of maintaining clothing and equipment shall be upon the player. If adjustments are required, the player shall leave the ice and play shall continue with a substitute.

The final scores: Washington 4, New York 2. Montreal 3, Carolina 2 (SO).

Number of times rule violated: No one left the game with a wedgie during a power play, so I'm going with 0.

Morals of the story:

The game: Wedgies aside, this rule is all about personal responsbility. So much so that's it's just expected you'll follow the rule. There's no penalty - you just have to leave. Gone. Poof. In the wind. There's not a lot to go on here, so I'm assuming this is for major adjustments like something coming untied or unstrapped or protective gear that needs fixing. Which is no big deal if it's early in the season and it's the first period and you're up by 2 goals. But what if it's game 7 of the finals and you're tied at 3 with two minutes to go? Adjusting our clothing is something simple we all do everyday, but if hockey players have to do this at the wrong moment during a crucial game they're toast.

Life: If this rule existed in life, I'd have to leave the game every three seconds. I'd get no ice time. I was just never one of those women who had it together. My hair is forever out of place. My shoes slip off my heel because I have wide toes and skinny ankles. My long rain coat is forever getting caught on the heel of my boots. By the time I got off my 20-minute bus ride this morning, I'd adjusted my pearl necklace, fiddled with my bra straps and pulled up my knee high pantyhose at least 15 times. It's a good thing there's no delay of game in life either, because I'd never get out of the house.

Next up on 11/19: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 15, Calling of Penalties.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 13, Rule 13

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Anaheim.

Why I chose it: Jonas Hiller was scheduled to start in the net for Anaheim. Evgeni Malkin's back, and on a line with Sidney Crosby. Enough said.

My peeve: My favorite netminder faces off against my favorite team. Major dilemma: I have to pick a side. I'm sticking with Anaheim. They aren't even on their own side right now, so I'm appointing myself in their place. It's like the Miranda laws -- if you cannot afford to play like one team with total confidence, a fan who believes in you will be appointed to you at no charge until you find your game again. Besides, what do they have to lose?

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 13, Puck.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: This outlines the type of rubber from which the puck must be made (vulcanized); the width and weight of the puck (one inch thick and three inches wide, must weigh between 5.5 and 6 ounces); the home team's obligation to maintain an adequate supply of frozen pucks; and the point at which illegal pucks can be removed from the ice (after play in progress is completed by a change in possession). Vulcanized rubber, by the way, is "cured" with chemicals to shape and solidify it, including sulfur, peroxide, urethane or metallic oxides. Just a suggestion for the NHL bigwigs...might want to get on board with that whole green thing for 2010. Just a thought.

My favorite highlight: 13.2, Supply. The home team shall be responsible for providing an adequate supply of official pucks which shall be kept in a frozen condition. This supply of pucks shall be kept at the penalty bench under the control of one of the regular off-ice Officials or a special attendant. Someday when I've had enough of the rat race, I'm applying for the job of special attendant. It's a special honor to be chosen to guard pieces of rubber that are an EPA violation. One I would gladly accept with pride. And a biohazard suit.

The final score: Pittsburgh 5, Anaheim 2. And my boy didn't start in net. Time for Plan B: Tampa Bay vs. Phoenix.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: This rule just assumes that the home team will provide the adequate, frozen supply of pucks. What if they run out? What if they're not frozen? This rule has no penalty or subsitution rules for not maintaining an adequate supply, not maintaining them in a frozen state or purposefully running out of pucks to delay the game. Nothing. This assumes the home team will adhere to the honor system and supply the pucks without question or penalty. At last, proof there is fairness in hockey.

Life: I'd love to see this rule instituted for Winter Classic or Super Bowl viewing parties. The host shall provide an adequate supply of beer, which will be maintained at a proper chilled temperature throughout the game and stored in a location convenient to the television. I'd hang out at said events, but let's just say I have a few friends who could use a special attendant to keep the microbrews from running out or defrosting on game day. This is why I watch the Winter Classic alone in pajamas.

Next up on 11/17: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 14, Adjustment to Clothing or Equipment.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 12, Rule 12

The game: San Jose vs. Chicago.

Why I chose it: I'd watch Chicago even if they were playing against a rec league in Winnipeg on Sunday morning.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 12, Illegal Equipment.

Number of rules in the section: 5.

The definition: Compared to the last rule, this one's pretty simple. But because all but a limited amount of gear has to be worn under the uniform, it could also be pretty easily violated. It covers penalties for illegal equipment, including gloves and elbow pads, and outlines the League's right to inspect equipment at any time. All protective equipment, except for gloves, headgear and the goalkeeper's leg pads, must be worn under the uniform. Here's one I never thought of: all elbow pads which do not have a soft protective outer covering of sponge rubber or similar material at least one-half inch (1/2") thick shall be considered dangerous equipment.

My favorite highlight: 12.4, Fair Play. These equipment regulations (Section 3) are written in the spirit of "fair play." If at any time the League feels that this spirit is being abused, the offending equipment will be deemed ineligible for play until a hearing has ruled on its eligibility. Since when is there fair play in hockey?

The final score: Chicago 4, San Jose 3 (in OT).

Number of times rule violated: 0. Unless the refs failed to bust somebody for wearing 1/3" thick elbow pads.

The morals of the story:

The game: In my experience, rules are put into place because someone once tried to get away with whatever the rule covers. Somewhere in the NHL's history, it's a good bet somebody wore illegal elbow pads to take someone out or tried to cut a hole in their glove to gain a better grip on their stick. Here's the thing...what's the point of winning if it was only because you cut a hole in your glove or wore dangerous elbow pads to knock somebody out? If you're so desperate to win you need to violate this rule, you deserve more than a bench minor penalty.

Life: We need an illegal equipment rule for life. Anyone who tries to gain the unfair advantage by violating the spirit of fair play will be subject to surprise inspection and a bench minor penalty for anything that is deemed illegal. There will be three sections to the rule: 1) Workplace. No person shall take credit for the work of another for the purpose of promotion or making oneself look smarter than they really are. If, upon inspection, said individual is found guilty, they will be relegated to taking orders at the first drivethru window at McDonald's with no chance of promotion to handing out the food at the second window. 2) Personal. Any person caught cheating and telling the wife, husband, lover, etc. "it's not what you think" will be put under house arrest with no access to cell phones, PDAs or anything else that will facilitate further cheating until they are willing to admit the truth. 3) Roadways. Anyone who goes slow so other people can't get through the green light and then speeds up just in time so that only he or she can get through the yellow light -- thereby leaving everyone else behind and even more late for work -- will be stripped of their license permanently.

Next up on 11/16: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 13, Puck.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 11, Rule 11

The games: Anaheim vs. Detroit and Pittsburgh vs. Boston.

Why I chose them: Hiller's in net in Detroit. Malkin's back in the lineup on home ice. Vengeance all around. Game on.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 11, Goalkeeper's Equipment.

Number of sections in the rule: 8.

The definition: Again, size matters. This is all about the measurement of the goalkeeper's gear, including leg guards, calf-strap protectors, knee strap pads, chest and arm pads, pants, catching glove, blocking glove, masks, measuring procedures for the catching glove, rules for inspection of equipment and the financial and suspension penalties associated with refusal to submit to an inspection.

My favorite highlights: 11.4, Pants. No internal or external cheater padding is permitted on the pant leg or waist beyond that which is required to provide protection (no outside or inside ridges). Each goalkeeper must wear pants that are anatomically proportional and size specific based on the individual physical characteristics of that goalkeeper. And if you think you can do the math on your own, forget it. The League's Hockey Operations Department will have the complete discretion to determine the maximum size of each goalkeeper's pants based on measurements obtained by the League's Hockey Operations Department, which will include but not be limited to, measurements for waist circumference and length of pant above and below waist line.

The final scores: Detroit 7, Anaheim 4. Pittsburgh 6, Boston 5 (in OT). So, it wasn't vengeance all around, but at least nobody busted Jonas Hiller for being too big for his britches.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: The NHL is loaded with international talent from across the globe: Olympic champions, Harvard grads, Russian national team all-stars. For all those who make it, there are more who don't because they don't make the grade. Even among those who do, this rule is proof that they have to literally measure up long before they even step onto the ice. It's the same for life -- talent is not enough. How players measure up off the ice -- in clothing or otherwise --is just as important as their slapshot.

Life: My special admiration for netminders was sealed with this one. I'm 5'9" and I've worn a size 8 since high school, but I'm not exactly the supermodel size 4. Nor would I want to be. It's bad enough that we have to be subjected to society's idea of beauty and ideal weight on TV, in movies, ads, etc. What if you had someone coming to your house every morning to penalize you because you didn't meet society's scary skinny BMI standard? That's essentially what goalies have to do when they get dressed for a game. Hats off to you boys. Or should I say pants?

Next up on 11/15: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 12, Illegal Equipment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 10, Rule 10

The game: Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota.

Why I chose it: It's Vincent Lecavalier and... well, it's Vinny Lecavalier. A honkin' tall, French speaking hockey captain looking for a little redemption on his home ice. I'm in.

My peeve: I'm a day late on this entry, so I was just watching the Anaheim vs. Columbus game and Jonas Hiller is not starting in goal. BUT: tomorrow is a rematch with Detroit, the first since Game 7 of the playoffs. I smell blood already.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 10, Sticks.

Number of sections in the rule: 7.

Definition: If there's anything about sticks that isn't in here, I can't imagine what it is. This rule covers stick measurements (prior to game, prior to penalty shot and prior to shootout), broken sticks, loss of stick during game and the penalties for not meeting the measurement regulations. Ok boys, I can't help it. It's too tempting. According to this rule, size matters. And the penalty for not measuring up is fairly serious. Punishments range from bench minor penalties to financial fines for sticks that are ruled illegal after measurement. Any player who deliberately breaks his stick or refuses to surrender an illegal stick is penalized with a bench minor and a 10-minute misconduct.

My favorite highlights: 10.5, Stick Measurement. Among other measure the curvature of the blade of the stick, the Referee must draw an imaginary line along the outside of the shaft to the bottom of the blade and then along the bottom of the blade - this will determine the location of the heel. He must use a league-approved measuring gauge to measure the curve from heel to toe. Everything else is measured with a measuring tape. Imaginary line? The NHL is an international, multi-million dollar sports and marketing empire that can be viewed around the world on cable, and they make a ref play a game of Charades to determine whether a stick measures up? This I have to see.

Here's another one...if the stick proves to be illegal, the stick shall remain at the penalty bench until the end of the game. That's right, even equipment has to do time on the penalty bench for being out of line. And it sits there longer than the players do.

The final score: Tampa Bay 4. Minnesota 3. In a shootout, which is the only thing I love more than honkin' tall French hockey players and underappreciated Swiss goalies.

Number of times rule violated: 0. There were a few lost and broken sticks, but this rule states that as long as you drop them and your teammates don't slide or throw a new one to you from the bench, you're in compliance.

Morals of the story:

Game: Trying to gain an unfair advantage with non-regulation gear carries more risks than benefits. Some things in life are worth it and are risked for the right reason. This is not. It's just stone cold cheating. If you did something like this in an office job, you'd be fired. Plus, if you feel compelled to cheat to win instead of winning on the merit of your talent, sportsmanship and physical conditioning, you have a bigger problem that no rule can fix.

Life: This is the hockey equivalent of a business professional faking their resume to get a better job or taking credit for other people's work to get ahead. You can cheat your way to the top, but if somebody calls for a measurement of your education and experience stick, you're screwed. Crime doesn't pay in hockey and it doesn't pay in life.

Next up on 11/14: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 11, Goalkeeper's Equipment. And vengeance in Detroit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 9, Rule 9

The game: Vancouver vs. St. Louis.

Why I chose it: I keep thinking things will turn around for Vancouver. Well, somebody has to.

My peeve: Half the NHL is on some semblance of injured reserve. I love a good fight. I love the sound of pucks slapping and four letter words and men crashing into the glass, but come on now. It's only November.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 9, Uniforms.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: This declares that all players must be dressed uniformly and wear an individual identifying number. It outlines jersey size, the types of numbers not allowed (00, fractions, decimals or 3-digit numbers), and outlines the stoppage of play and faceoff rules if a player loses their helmet during play. It also defines the penalties for goalkeepers who deliberately remove their masks or helmets to cause a delay of game.

My favorite highlight: No "tying down" of the sweater is allowed at the wrists if it creates a tension across the jersey such that a "webbing effect" is created in the armpit area. No other tie downs are allowed that create a "webbing effect." Good thing the NHL is on top of this one. Because we wouldn't want anyone trying to gain the upper hand by dressing like Spider Man.

The final score: St. Louis 6. Vancouver 1.

Number of times rule violated: 0. Although Montreal might have been in violation last weekend when they wore their original striped uniforms to celebrate their anniversary. Nowhere does it say it's ok to wear a uniform that resembles pajamas.

The morals of the story:

The game: This rule guarantees that all players, at least on the outside, must be equal. It doesn't matter what your talent or skill level is or when you were taken in the draft. No dressing like Spider Man, no 67.5 on the back. How great would it be if this rule made the teams play with the same equality and unity? Anaheim wouldn't be in an early season pickle, Vancouver wouldn't be going down. Everyone would be hard to beat and every game would be like the playoffs.

Life: We all wear a uniform of some sort to work, the gym or social occasions. But who we are, what makes us special and how we choose to shine through is not defined by what we wear. Just like hockey, it's how we play that matters. Of course, I probably shouldn't preach because I'm a grown up Garanimal, so what do I know about fashion anyway?

Note to readers born after 1980: Garanimals were created by Sears in the 70s to help children learn how to shop. You would buy outfits based on the tags, so Lion pants went with Lion shirts and Giraffe dresses went with Giraffe dress shoes. And so on. Sometimes I mix it up. Which is why I don't worry about standing out. Tall women wearing Elephant shoes with a Zebra bag can be seen from miles away.

Next up on 11/12: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 10, Sticks.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 8, Rule 8

The game: Edmonton vs. Colorado.

Why I chose it: It's Sunday, it's 5:45. It's this or the 7 minute highlights on the Versus On-Demand channel.

My peeve: It's Sunday, 5:45 and no other games are happening at the same time. This Center Ice package is a trap - now that I have it, I need at least 7 or 8 games going at once or I go into withdrawal.

The rule: Section 2, Teams. Rule 8, Injured Players.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: This rule should be simple: player gets injured, player leaves ice, other player is substituted. But like life, what should be and what is are not the same. It takes eight paragraphs to explain when the team can substitute a new player, where the injured player must exit the ice, when the injured player can come back, what to do if he incurs a penalty and can't serve it (no, you don't get out of jail free), and it outlines the strict requirement that a bleeding player must leave the ice. It's also way more unmerciful to goalies. It only takes five paragraphs to explain the requirements for netminders.

My favorite highlight:
As if stopping pucks going the speed of sound wasn't hard enough: If a goalkeeper sustains an injury or becomes ill, he must be ready to resume play immediately or be replaced by a substitute goalkeeper and no additional time shall be allowed by the Referee for the purpose of enabling the injured or ill goalkeeper to resume his position. No warm-up shall be permitted for a substitute goalkeeper in all regular season League and Playoff games. The Referee shall report to the Commissioner for disciplinary action any delay in making a goalkeeper substitution.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The final score: Edmonton 5. Colorado 3.

The morals of the story:

The game: No matter which position you play, there's no free ride. Not even when you're injured. Sure, the players get a few more minutes to get their substitution act together, but you get a penalty if you misstep even a little. And if you're a goalie, well, you pretty much better be bulletproof. And if you aren't, don't apply for the job.

Life: Hockey players risk everything everytime they step on the ice: their safety, their winning streak, and if the injury is bad enough, their dreams and their futures. But that doesn't stop them. They play on, one way or another. We should be required to live by this rule in life. Most of us live lives of silent dreams and loud fears. We are afraid of "what if," we get caught up in life's crosschecks and two minutes for roughing and we give up. We let someone else be substituted for us while we leave the ice. Next time life injures you, get back up. Play on. Just like hockey, rules and all, you can always come back.

Bonus life lesson: As if you couldn't tell from earlier blog entries, I have special admiration for goalkeepers. Well, ok, one in particular. But still, here's the deal:

One of my friends once told me that he could never play goalie because he'd be bored from "just standing there all night." I can see where he was misled. The men who guard the NHL's nets are hidden from us. By their masks, by their equipment and by their own desire to operate alone. It's easy to think that they only play that position because they are afraid. I beg to differ. Tending goal requires the following: 1) Mental fortitude. 2) Physical resilience. 3) Fearlessness of anything, including fast pucks, big men and being alone. 4) Being 100 percent trusworthy and reliable, all the time, every time. If you can do all those things while you're "just standing around" and making no conscious effort me. I want your secret. I'll pay for it.

Next up on 11/9: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 9, Uniforms.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 7, Rule 7

The game: Anaheim vs. Nashville.

Why I chose it: Jonas Hiller is starting in goal. Anaheim's on the upswing. I think tonight might be the night.

My peeve: I made a commercial break periodically for the Pittsburgh vs. LA game. The broadcasters are making a huge deal out of the Pens' unbeaten road streak. Don't hype it, sillies, you'll jinx it. Sadly my telepathic cursing didn't work and, as I predicted in the silence of my living room, Pittsburgh's unbeaten winning road streak came to an end.

The rule: Section 2, Teams. Rule 7, Starting Line-up.

Number of sections in the rule: 2.

Definition: Aha. So this is the rule that ensures you can't try and gain the advantage by switching the lineup at ice time. Although it sounds like the home team might have a slight advantage, because the visiting team has to submit their line-up to the Official Scorer or Referee first. Then the home team coach or manager, having been advised of the visiting team's line-up, must provide to the Official Scorer the names of their starters. The visitors then get to know who they are facing, and neither team can make changes once the home team's names have been submitted.

My favorite highlight: Rule 7.2, Violation. A bench minor penalty is assessed against the offending team who puts the wrong line-up on the ice, provided it is brought to the referee's attention prior to the second face off in the game. If a team scores on the first shift of the game, and it's brought to the ref's attention by the opposing team that the team that scored didn't have the right starting line-up, the goal is allowed and a bench minor penalty is assessed to the offending team. If the team that scored challenges the starting line-up of the opposing team, and the opposing team did not have the right starting line-up, the scoring of the goal nullifies the bench minor penalty and no further penalty is assessed. Got it? Even if both teams get busted doing this, the goal is still allowed and somebody's still gonna be pissed.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The final score: Anaheim 4, Nashville 0. Hiller stopped all 40 shots on goal. A comeback with a capital C. It was the night, after all.

Bonus tidbit for novices: A shot on goal is one that enters the goal or one that would have entered the goal if it hadn't been stopped by the goalie.

The morals of the story:

The game: This is the hockey equivalent of the legal technicalities that let criminals escape punishment. If both teams try to sneak a last-minute line-up change onto the ice, and they both get busted, one team's violation cancels the other one's out. Plus, the statue of limitations runs out after the second face-off.

Life: I need my own personal referee. In life, when I try to score goals, I should be able to bring it to the attention of my personal ref, so he can assess a bench minor penalty to whomever or whatever got in the way and screwed up my plans. And the achieving of the goal should then be allowed with no further penalties or obstructions.

Next up on 11/8: Section 2, Teams. Rule 8, Injured Players.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 6, Rule 6

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Anaheim.

Why I chose it: The underdogs of the moment play the Stanley Cup champions. Jonas Hiller is starting in goal. I smell a comeback.

My peeve: The NHL public relations team has unleashed a Bull Durham-esque litany of cliches. The following expressions were used at least once by players in interviews over the past 24 hours: "play our game," "keep it simple," and "I just hope I can help out the team." I'm not saying you can't use the occasional cliche, I'm just saying come up with some new ones.

The rule: Section 2, Teams. Rule 6, Captains and Alternate Captains.

Number of sections in the rule: 2.

Definition: Ok, Sidney Crosby haters, get over it. It says right here in this rule - as Captain it's his job to talk with the refs about interpretation of rules. No other players except the Alternate Captains are permitted to do so. This also clearly outlines the penalties for complaints. It states that a complaint about a penalty is NOT a matter " relating to the interpretation of the rules"and a minor penalty shall be imposed against any Captain, Alternate Captain, or any other player making such a complaint. Not, by the way, is capitalized in the rule book.

My favorite highlight: Rule 6.2, Captain. Only the captain, when invited to do so by the referee, shall have the privilege of discussing any point relating to the interpretation of the rules. Any player who comes off the bench to protest or intervene with officials shall be assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct as defined in Rule 40 - Abuse of Officials. Should the protest continue, he may be assessed a misconduct penalty and if it further continues, a game misconduct penalty shall be warranted.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The final score: Pittsburgh 4. Anaheim 3. It's a comeback with a small c.

The morals of the story:

The game: If any Captain whined as much as Sidney Crosby is accused of, they'd be gone. Bought out. Traded at the deadline. Put on waivers. No team wants their leader getting them into trouble, no coach wants to babysit the player and his attitude and no official would put up with it. The job and privilege of being Captain or Alternate Captain is one that most people can't handle, let alone when they are barely past the drinking age. We don't have to like the player, but we do have to respect the title.

Life: I lived in New York City for 10 years, and I have figured out how the state can balance their budget. Just enact the Captains rule as law. Levy a fine for every time New Yorkers complain, come off the bench in protest or get into it about their interpretation of the rules. You'd be able to collect enough revenue in a single day to pay off any deficits and it would ensure that you never went into debt again. Ever.

Next up on 11/6: Section 2, Teams. Rule 7, Starting Line-Up.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 5, Rule 5

The game: Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia.

Why I chose it: It is my dream that someday Philly will win a game without starting a fight.

My peeve: Today is definitely not that day.

The rule: Section 2, Teams. Rule 5: The Team.

Number of sections in the rule: 4.

Definition: Math majors, this one's for you. This defines the number of players on a roster (no more than 20, 18 skaters and 2 goalkeepers), classifies ineligible players (the name on the list matters, number doesn't) and substitution rules for goalkeepers (if two regular goalkeepers are incapacitated, the third is permitted to take the ice), all of which must adhere to the 20-man roster limitations.

My favorite highlights: Rule 5.2, Ineligible Player. Only players on the list submitted to the Official Scorer before the game may participate in the game. If a goal is scored when an inelgible player is on the ice (whether he was involved in the scoring or not) the goal will be disallowed. This only applies to the goal scored at the stoppage of play whereby the player was deemed to be ineligible. All other goals scored previously by the ineligible player's team (with him on the ice or not) shall be allowed.

Number of times rule violated: No goals were disallowed, so I'm gonna go with 0.

The final score: Philadelphia 6. Tampa Bay 2.

The morals of the story:

The game: I would not want to be the coach or manager who violates this one. This is like a grown-up version of roll call in elementary school. Except if you do the thing where you don't answer to your name just to mess with the teacher, you don't spend five minutes in the corner for bad behavior. You get reported to the Commissioner.

Life: How great would it be if we had the same kind of lists and rules for mistakes in life? 1)Individuals shall be limited to 20 mistakes in one lifetime and no change shall be permitted in the list once life has started. 2) If a person commits a social faux pas while stumbling through life because they were too young and stupid to know better, the mistake shall be disallowed and an appropriate action will be substituted in its place. 3) All mistakes committed after an individual should have learned the lesson will result in the individual being disqualified from having a life until they learn.

Next up on 11/3: Section 2, Teams. Rule 6, Captains and Alternate Captains.